As consumers we are becoming more aware of the importance of being environmentally friendly in our purchases. Retailers are becoming more aware of this and are creating products which are both sustainable and recycled.
Brands are becoming more imaginative in the creation of their products and in the design of their packaging but why are they becoming more mindful about being environmentally friendly?
Eco Friendly Retail
Retailers are becoming more conscious about the way they are producing their stock, from the way they transport and distribute their stock to the packaging they use, it is important that they are reusing materials in the most efficient ways.
In recent years, Swedish retailer H&M have led the way in forward-thinking, eco-friendly fashion design and have encouraged their customers to engage in their environmentally friendly policy.
H&M have started a global initiative that has encouraged customers to bring in unwanted garments into their stores. H&M want to create a ‘closed loop system‘, which means most, if not all of their resources will come from old fashion items.
In 2015 Over 12,000 tonnes of clothes were handed into H&M stores – that is enough fabric to create more than 60 million T-shirts! It is not only fabric waste which the retailer has in mind for recycling. Recycled polyester can be made from PET bottles and last year H&M used the equivalent of over 90 million bottles. H&M is just one company that are thinking box when it comes to recycling and it is clear that customers are responding.
The Power of Packaging Design
Packaging design is a major factor in the production of consumable goods. Nowadays it is not only about how the product and packaging looks from the inside but what is inside. Organisations are spending more of their budget on packaging due its importance, Coca-Cola are an excellent example of this as they spend 48% of product cost is from packaging. The Brand have expressed their interest on going green on their website:
“Packaging plays an essential role for our business by protecting our drinks during delivery to our consumers and our customers. As a business we work hard to deliver the quality drinks people expect from us as sustainably as possible.”
Coca-Cola is one of the UK’s biggest users of packaging, and by designing their products with recyclable materials they are proving that the move towards eco-friendly packaging is becoming more and more mainstream.
Sustainable Packaging Design
According to packing supplies company, Ferrari Packaging, 83% of consumers agree that it is important for businesses to construct programs which are environmentally friendly and 22% said that they would pay more for an environmentally friendly product.
Bio-technical innovation is becoming fashionable in the business world. Big corporations are taking note of their customers’ demands for recyclable products and the same goes for packaging!
Big brands like amazon have been scolded in the media for their unethical packaging and some do not understand the line between protective and excessive packaging. By using biodegradable and reusable packaging it means that customers may not be as frustrated with layer upon layer of packaging products. In the past packaging was made from Styrofoam, many companies now use plant based or corrugated packaging.
Plant-based is often placed into plants to biodegrade and can provide nourishment for planting flowers or vegetables. Corrugated packaging is the most commonly used packaging material in the UK, with a recycling rate of over 80%, it also has the best UK recycling record of any packaging material.
Eco Design Inspiration
The theme of this year’s Lexus Design Awards was “Anticipation” and candidates where stimulated to produce a design which could adapt to society’s ever-changing needs. The car manufacturing brand was inspired by a prototype packaging product that was constructed with seaweed. Seaweed was used as an substitute for plastic to create protective packaging for products that included perfume bottles.
Agar Plasticity could be a pioneering technique in the future of packaging design and shows the resourcefulness of a product which has come from the sea! The winning team comes from Japan and is s made up of three designers, known as AMAM.
Mentored by the designer Max Lamb, they created an environmental product that was made with mouldable agar material. There is lots of benefits of using agar as it is a biodegradable substance as well as being a sustainable raw material.
Where does this this wonderful ingredient come from? Agar is in multiple types of marine algae. AMAM used red seaweed in their design as it can be sourced fairly easily. With biodegradable material so in trend just now, agar packaging was a winner from the start as it dissolves in boiling water and leaves barely any residue.
The Future of Eco Friendly Design
The future of packaging definitely lies in the hands of eco-friendly design. Whether companies are using new or old techniques, they are taking notice of the demand for environmentally friendly packaging. We aren’t sure if all packaging problems can be solved under the sea, but the future of design is definitely in an exciting place.