According to the United Nations, our designs need to meet "the economic needs of the present without compromising the ability of the planet to provide for the needs of future generations". In other words, says illustrator, graphic designer and art director , it's "much more than just sticking a 'green' label on existing products. It involves function, material and packaging choices."
1. Design backwards:
When Yves Béhar a designer, entrepreneur, and sustainability advocate was asked to create packaging for Puma he thought outside the box; literally. Because of his design, it was estimated that 8,500 tons less paper would be used, 20 million megajoules of electricity would be saved, 1 million liters less fuel oil would be used, 1 million liters of water would be saved, 500,000 liters of diesel during transport would be saved and 275 tons of plastic would be saved.
2. Make it long-lasting:
Canvas bags are also on the rise, like with the puma design, and are great way to reinforce your brand as well as create a reusable long lasting solution to the plastic bag.
3. Make it local and social:
Jill Heyes' company, Original Tea Bag Designs, has created jobs for those living in the informal settlement of Imizamo Yethu, Cape Town, South Africa, while also making clever use of waste. The company makes use of used tea bags, which are dried, emptied, ironed and then painted to create various products and art. The fact that sales of the products are mostly local removes the need for excessive packaging.
4. Repurpose materials:Is there potential to re-use products or materials in a new way, so as to eliminate waste and give it a new lease on life? Rewined, a soy wax candle company that repurposes discarded wine bottles into candles also uses recycled letter-pressed labels and hand stamped stickers.
Thomas Matthews, a London-based communication design studio focused on sustainability, created its full corporate identity range using surplus printers' waste.
5. Make it recyclable:
After the product has no possible further use is it constructed or made in such a way so that it is completely recyclable?
These Cereal Revolution boxes were designed to be the absolute perfect size so as to minimize waste and shipping space. They are constructed so that there is very little use of glue and are printed on 100 per cent recycled paperboard with soy-based inks. The boxes are fully recyclable, even the bag holding the cereal is made from compostable cellophane.
Some wine companies are also moving away from glass wine bottles to a much more easily recyclable cardboard based box-bottles.
6. Make it biodegradable:
Could the product or packaging be designed so as to be biodegradable? Vendors, such as Sun Chips, have developed packaging that is self-compostable. The bag is made of plant-based material. It will break down within 14 weeks in a hot, active compost pile.
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