Insights / Sustainability

Sustainable Package Design Requires Holistic Thinking

Sustainable package design requires a holistic approach

Designing sustainable packaging demands a holistic understanding of its life cycle, from creation to disposal, and a cross-functional team to ensure that sustainability seamlessly integrates with technical performance, consumer usability, and impactful branding, reports an article in Manufacturing Outlook authored by Martin Rathgeber, Director of Engineering at Studio One Eleven, Berlin Packaging's innovation and design center.

“Whether it's optimizing for e-commerce channels or designing for optimal recyclability, it is crucial to consider how a package impacts and is impacted at every stage,” stated Rathgeber. “For a packaging solution to be truly sustainable, it needs to perform at every stage of its journey, from the warehouse to the consumer. If the product fails at any of these points, then it's not only the packaging that's wasted but often also its content.”

During the initial concept phase, Rathgeber suggests asking questions about consumer usability, filling, closure or dispensing options, post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials, decoration, and recyclability. “Using tools like material selection matrices, life cycle analysis and recyclability scores, and EPR fee calculators can also help you make informed choices. Collaborating with supply chain teams is also key to ensure that proposed solutions align with availability, cost, and environmental impact,” added Rathgeber.

The evolution of PCR technology presents a promising avenue for advancing sustainable packaging solutions, declared Rathgeber. “While its potential is vast, a diligent and thorough approach is key to integrating it correctly particularly in processes like blow and injection molding,” noted Rathgeber. “PCR suppliers and molders have made significant strides in mastering PCR technology, including precise color matches between PCR and virgin components for beauty brands. This has resulted in greater production and adoption of higher quality PCR.”

Contributor: Robert Swientek
Date: December 19, 2023

Robert Swientek

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