Making Eco Packaging
By Vanessa Swann, Chief Executive, Cockpit Arts
Do you feel so overwhelmed by what it takes to make your business more eco-friendly that it stops you doing much about it? Focussing on packaging can really help to start the process, as six Cockpit designer-makers discovered when they met Clair McMullen from environmental charity, Global Action Plan at one of Cockpit’s environmental workshop sessions.
Clair had plenty of simple tips for packaging decisions that not only help cut down on packaging waste (and sometimes make cost savings), but also support your brand image and identity which can pay dividends in the longer term.
- Keep the packaging small and consistent: Instead of larger one size fits all boxes, keep the packaging appropriate to the size of the product and have a range of different size packages. Or, instead of using bought tissue or paper wrapping, why not tie up your work in existing materials like beautiful recycled scarves that are pleasing objects in their own right and add value to the customer offer?
- Think about the long term re-use of your packaging: Could you design packaging that would very likely be re-used? Puma looked at alternatives to shoebox packaging and came up with a shoe bag that did away with the need for a box (and then a bag to carry the box), and is nice enough to be reused for everyday shopping. The important thing here is that any bag designed for re-use has to stand a good chance of actually being used, otherwise the energy needed to make that bag is more than a disposable one!
- Think before you buy your packaging (and think alternative!) Buying single-type packaging made of one material only is best-practice purchasing because it makes the end disposal process much easier – and therefore more likely that your packaging will ultimately be recycled in the proper way. Buying boxes which are then applied with sticky tape means stripping the tape off first, so consider buying paper tape from an eco supplier, or jiffy bags with paper wadding. Also think out of the box but in the context of your craft: Wool as an insulating material instead of polystyrene balls for example.
- Collaborate with other designer-makers in your building or studio: There are lots of suppliers of environmental packaging around now but unfortunately it can work out more expensive than conventional packaging. In which case, are there opportunities for clubbing together with other designer-makers to buy, say, a paper or cardboard packaging shredding machine, or to place a larger and therefore more cost-effective order with one supplier?
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Tags: Environment, Recycle, Seminars, Workshops