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Sustainable Packaging Designs

Packaging and waste can go hand in hand in the realm of consumerism.

A 10 year span that was examined in Europe did see a positive drop in packaging waste, by 43% throughout 27 states due to better recycling techniques, according to the European Organization for Packaging and the Environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency stated that the U.S. produced at least 243 million tons of waste in 2009 alone, however over 80 million tons were kept out of landfills due to recycling and composting (Mother Nature Network).

Recycling efforts are positive approaches. However, the question of availability for smarter packaging choices is an issue. Eco-friendly packaging options may also cost consumers more, since some designs initially are more expensive to produce upfront, even though they are better choices in the long run.

While many would choose ecologically conscious packaging over the alternative if it was available, if it is more expensive all bets may be off. Although it should not cost more to buy environmentally friendly options, sometimes it does, which lends to an inequality in purchasing what is better for the customer and the environment, or buying what is reasonably priced. Paying for actual food and sustenance, not labeling or packaging, obviously takes priority when on a budget.

Though it may be a great initial effort to green up the packaging industry, the long term benefits of doing so cannot be ignored. Packaging that is recyclable has proven to be an obviously better route, but more companies should go beyond this and consider designs that leap a step further. Proposing better choices for consumers, like biodegradable, double-duty or reusable packaging, instead of one-use toss aways, would be a good investment on any business’s end.

Plastic packaging needs a makeover, and modern day designs have the aptitude to offer convenience as well as sustainability.

Examples like the ones listed on 35 Recyclable and Eco-Friendly Packaging Designs for Inspiration are concepts that offer pioneering usefulness without being as environmentally invasive as traditional containers.

Packaging projects like Sustainable Bagless Take-Out Packaging offers a better option to hold food or other items.

Disposable Packaging

Image source: behance.net

This design features a stackable compartment that has space for up to three different things, plus sauces and silverware can be carried in each unit. The 60BAG design is a neat alternative to the plastic bag, and it also looks much nicer. The portable carry-all is constructed from flax-viscose, non-woven fabric and is totally biodegradable.

An ecologically friendly twist on the plastic bottle, the 360 Paper Bottle is sustainably produced and completely recyclable.

Eco-friendly Packaging

Image source: thedieline.com

Another bottle design from Ecologic Brands is formed by using recycled cardboard instead of plastic and can hold a variety of liquids.

Also, the disposable food bowl is a creative invention that can be used for takeout or packing lunch. This biodegradable container also doubles as a seedling planter. An enclosed seed packet can be planted in the decomposable bowl after the main dish is gone.


Image source: tripwiremagazine.com

Another design tactic that puts a different spin on labeling is using techniques like embossing in place of toxic paints for labeling manufactured products. Instead of dyes or printing, cool concepts like the Colorless Coke Can incorporates a branding process to design it instead of the recognizable painted logo. The standard colored can design takes a lot of energy to produce, and the paints used for embellishing them can be environmental hazards.

Things we use everyday that make our lives more convenient may not always be the best choices.

Seeking environmentally smarter designs is a valuable shopping venture, and hopefully one that businesses and manufacturers will make easier and more affordable.

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