Insights / Sustainability

From Concept to Reality: Engineering Sustainable Packaging Solutions

With Martin Rathgeber, Director of Engineering at Studio One Eleven 

When it comes to making sustainable packaging solutions a reality, a holistic approach is key. That’s why Studio One Eleven, Berlin Packaging’s design and innovation, partners with our customers to unpack sustainability impact. Martin Rathgeber, Director of Engineering at Studio One Eleven shares his insights on how he and the team at Studio One Eleven, bring sustainable packaging solutions to life.

This interview has been edited for clarity.  

Q: Martin, sustainability is often a sought-after goal in the packaging industry. How do you approach developing truly sustainable packaging solutions for our customers?  

Martin Rathgeber (MR): It’s all about understanding that sustainability isn’t just a catchphrase; it’s part of a complex reality. One-size-fits-all solutions often fall short. For a package to be truly sustainable, it needs to be able to perform at every step of its journey—from the warehouse, through the various distribution channels all the way onto the shelf, and of course for the consumer. If the product fails at any of these points, we have not only wasted the packaging, but also its content.   

Our Studio team combines engineering, sustainability, and design expertise. We ensure that sustainability coexists seamlessly with technical functionality, usability and visually appealing design. On top of that, we always focus on the consumer: after all, packaging is key to creating a compelling, exciting, and smooth user experience.  

When we partner with our customers, we want to develop a thorough understanding of their needs. We stay on top of new technologies and materials and the changing market, as well as any upcoming government regulations and policies. This allows us to bring our customers packaging solutions that are not only sustainable, but also exemplify their brand story and excite their consumers.  

Martin, the Studio One Eleven team, and the Sustainability team all work together to drive sustainable packaging solutions and empower customers on their sustainability journey.  

Q: Sustainability and usability certainly go hand in hand. How do you ensure your packaging solutions are both feasible and user-friendly?  

MR: We take a holistic approach, diving deep into our customers’ packaging requirements and their brand story. Whether it’s creating the best consumer experience, optimizing for e-commerce channels, or designing for optimal recyclability, we consider every component throughout the process.  

We might ask questions like: How is the package used? How is it filled? Which closure or dispensing solution best enhance user satisfaction, while being cost-effective as well as sustainable? If it doesn’t already exist on the market, then we’ll create it. And by starting with our customer’s packaging & sustainability goals, we can recommend the best-fit packaging solution and optimize it for sustainability.  

Q: Can you elaborate on what it means to “optimize” packaging for sustainability? What does that entail? 

MR: Sustainability optimization is multi-faceted. Beyond lightweighting, we scrutinize every packaging component. For instance, can we incorporate post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials? To what level without impacting manufacturability and look? How does decoration impact recyclability? Do we truly need secondary packaging, or can we fortify it, e.g. for e-commerce shipping while lightweighting the primary package? Dispensing options are another focus: how is the package used by the consumer? Is a simple dispensing closure sufficient, or could a reusable pump be the solution? Can we eliminate unnecessary components like overcaps? All these aspects, combined with cost targets and timelines, drive our sustainable packaging approach.  

Earlier this year, Martin and the Berlin Packaging Sustainability team toured Chicago’s Lakeshore Recycling Systems (LRS) facility to learn about how the city recycles and diverts waste from landfills. The team was excited to see first-hand the facility’s innovative recycling processes. The Sustainability team regularly engages with the broader industry to accelerate the circular economy—whether it’s designing for optimal recyclability, keeping materials in circulation when possible, and driving sustainable packaging solutions.

Q: Your team must face quite a challenge in creating sustainable packaging solutions! How do you determine what works best for your customers?  

MR: Collaboration is key. We work closely with our customers to understand their unique packaging needs and their sustainability strategy. Different materials and packaging formats have varying attributes, which we consider in-depth.  

Our toolbox includes material selection matrices, recyclability and lifecycle analysis, and other tools that empower our customers to make informed decisions. We also collaborate with our supply chain team to ensure that proposed solutions align with availability, cost, and environmental impact.  


Driving Positive Impact with Naked Wines
Reducing environmental impact by switching to lightweight bottles

Barrels of Oil Saved

Passenger Vehicles Taken Off the Road

Fewer Miles Driven by Passenger Vehicles

Fewer Liters of Gasoline Consumed

Tree Seedlings Grown for 10 Years

Acres of Forest Saved

Gallons of Water Saved

Fewer People Showering Daily

Martin, the Studio One Eleven team, and the Sustainability team work with brands to transition to sustainable packaging solutions. For instance, they worked with a wine brand, Naked Wines, to transition to lighter glass bottles. The teams also quantified the reduced environmental impact for the brand.

By: Martin Rathgeber Contributor: Celine Yang  

Date: December 5, 2023

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