Thursday April 26, 2012

sustainable design & packaging — leading by example

sustainable design & packaging — leading by example

“Sustainable design, taken as reducing our impact on the earth and making things better at the same time, is in the process of becoming defined.”[1]

Today’s topic focuses on an introduction to Sustainable Design we are looking to further investigate what Sustainable Design standards are and who is out there helping to push these objectives forward in regards to packaging and products. Wikipedia defines Sustainable Design as, “Sustainable design (also called environmental design, environmentally sustainable design, environmentally conscious design, etc.) is the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment, and services to comply with the principles of social, economic and ecological sustainability.” [1]

There are several questions to ask when researching sustainable packaging like:
Can the materials used decompose?
Are the materials used efficiently reducing it’s carbon footprint?
Are the materials used efficiently using natural ingredients that aren’t intrusive to the Earth’s resources?

Today’s featured image shows an example of one of my favorite brands, Seventh Generation. In our own home we have shifted to purchasing our cleaning products (laundry detergent, kitchen, and bathroom cleaners) and paper products (toilet and paper rolls) to Seventh Generation.

“Seventh Generation is the nation’s leading brand of household and personal care products that help protect human health and the environment.  Established in 1988, the Burlington, Vermont based company remains an independent, privately-held company distributing products to natural food stores, supermarkets, mass merchants, and online retailers across the United States and Canada.” [2]

It is apparent that Seventh Generation has a strong passion for the environment and are leading to make changes not only in the products produced but the packaging of the products. When researching Seventh Generation we found that some of their laundry detergent packaging was made from a B2B company called Ecologic Brands. Ecologic Brand is taking the approach of reducing plastics,

“Today, Julie and the Ecologic team are committed to giving consumers and brands better packaging choices and replacing shelf after shelf of rigid plastic, headed for landfill, with a new kind of bottle that uses our limited resources more efficiently.”

Ecologics slogan is,

“packaging the earth can live with” [3]

Another B2B packaging company we’ve been watching is Ecovative Design they believe that sustainability is – Natural, Renewable, Biodegradable,

“By using mycelium and agricultural by-products, we utilize materials that are environmentally low-impact, 100 percent biodegradable and renewable, and are part of a healthy ecosystem. Unlike other bio-plastics, our technology isn’t based on turning food or fuel crops into materials; we’re only using inedible crop waste to grow our products. The final biodegradable materials we produce have a variety of end-of-life options, including home composting. From the materials we choose to the way it is produced, we ensure our materials are part of a truly sustainable future.” [4]

Ecovative has been working with NOAA, 3M, and have also mentioned “developing new apparel, liquid absorbing mats, a developing nations appropriate process, and more”. They have also built a brand called Ecocradle which is mushroom packaging that has been used by DELL, Steelcase, NOAA, and Puma.

We look forward to researching and finding more companies that are promoting Sustainable Design and also the Four R’s — Reduction, Reuse, Recycling and Recovery.

1- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_design
2- http://www.seventhgeneration.com/
3- http://www.ecologicbrands.com/index.html
4- http://www.mushroompackaging.com/packaging-solutions/case-studies

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