In recent years there has been a huge rise in consciously reducing the amount of waste you create on a daily basis. Whether it’s an increase in recycling or reducing the number of disposable items you use, no step is too small when it comes to creating positive change. While much of this occurs on an individual level, businesses have been benefiting from this practice as well. Simple changes to reduce the carbon footprint of a business can also help them stand out from their competitors, and create a heart-warming, feel-good incentive to choose them over the rest. This is why sustainable design is a concept worth discussing.
Package design is intended to showcase the product, and make it feel complete. However, there is a slippery slope between great design and over-packaging. For instance, when someone buys an iPhone it comes in a box with special slots for each component. The phone, charger, headphones, etc all have their own designated space that makes opening the iPhone a great experience, but if that same packaging was applied to a sandwich it would be very over-packaged. Sure, it may be aesthetically pleasing to open a box and have a sandwich, sides, and sauces all laid out nicely. But for a single use product like a sandwich, it creates much more waste than necessary. Choosing a package design that creates minimal waste—but still showcases the product nicely—is the ultimate goal for sustainability.
While the amount of packaging used is important, it is often more important to choose materials that are environmentally friendly. Recently there’s been a viral trend of reducing plastic waste by simply switching to reusable straws over the plastic straws that are provided at eating establishments. To some this may seem like a small step that is insignificant, but the fact that it has become so viral shows that there is a big push towards reducing waste and choosing sustainable options instead. With so many fast food chains still using styrofoam and plastic products, it could be a very beneficial choice to switch to more eco-friendly materials. Depending on the market, this could be a great source of publicity. And if the clientele is not as receptive to environmental issues, these sorts of changes could be made quietly so that only the people who care about the issue will notice.
Creating a dual purpose for disposable materials can ensure that it lives on as something else rather than being immediately discarded. There are endless options of how to make something reusable too! Creating recycled paper packaging, similar to that of an egg carton, with flower seeds inside of the paper can really bring new life to something that would otherwise be discarded. Other solutions could be as simple as making packaging that doubles as a case or stand for the product inside. The examples for this could go on forever, and are only limited by how creative one can be.
Even though sustainability isn’t an issue to everyone, it’s also not something that should be ignored or pushed away. Many people are embracing this concept as much as possible, and the businesses that embrace this concept will surely benefit from it. Although sustainable materials may cost more than the other options, they also create a positive experience for the consumer. This will lead them to come back more, and entice others to do the same.