SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING DESIGN HOU Shanshan School of Hotel and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University ABSTRACT The earliest recorded use of paper for packaging dates back to 1035 and at that time, a package had only a simple job to do: protect the product inside. As time went by, manufacturers realized that packaging is a key element in the brand’s communicating with consumers. This is because packaging is an irreplaceable part of the aesthetic appeal of the product and brand and can be an effective marketing vehicle. Nowadays, under the situation that the market competition is increasingly fierce, packaging of the products has become an important competitive factor and got bigger, sturdier and slicker. However, the large quantity of packaging will create various environmental polluting impacts during their whole life cycle. To tackle with the problems caused by packaging, sustainable packaging design is bound to be a fashion trend of packaging strategy because it is environmental friendly and has positive impact on long-term brand value. What is the precise meaning of sustainable packaging? How are the brands’ responses to this new concept? In this report, the effects of packaging on the environment will be abstracted and the definition of sustainable packaging will be introduced. Specific factors for sustainable packaging design and some concrete cases be mainly listed and discussed. In particular, I modified a smart sustainable package in the end of the report. Keywords: packaging, waste, impact, sustainable, environmental friendly, reuse, reduce, recycle, environmentally friendly 1. The impact of packaging on the environment Product packaging is regarded as materials used to present goods, contain the contents appropriately and provide for safe shipping. The large quantity of packaging causes various environmental impacts, including the effect of manufacturing the packaging and the impact of disposing of it in landfills. (Wikipedia 2012) 1.1 The effect of manufacturing the packaging Figure 1.
Apart from the products themselves, the creation of packaging also uses natural resources, such as forests, water and electricity. The productive process comes with a large emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. In addition, byproducts of manufacturing can also cause unfortunate side effects. The
creation of plastics, for example, emits toxic carbon monoxide and other undesirable organic compounds. In fact, many manufacturers admit that the creation of packaging costs more than the creation of the item to be packaged. 1.2 The impact of disposing of it in landfills Much waste almost always ends up in landfills. In fact, packaging is bad for environment mainly because much of this packaging, including polystyrene and other plastics, is not biodegradable or does not break down quickly. This will create serious long-term environmental problems. 2. The emergence and definition of sustainable packaging Global warming and some other environmental related issues are getting worse these years and in reality, package waste play an indispensable role in the process of environment depravation. Scientists have already found this and so have consumers. A recent report from Accenture, a multinational management consulting company, found that 80% of consumers believe climate change will affect their lives and they are looking for products and packaging that offer sustainable solutions. In order to meet the demands of those consumers and support calls for environmental conservation, a new packaging strategy has emerged and it is called sustainable packaging. 2.1 The definition of sustainable packaging Sustainable Packaging is the development and use of packaging which results in improved sustainability. At the end stage of design it involves increased use of life cycle inventory (LCI) and life cycle assessment (LCA) to help guide the use of packaging which reduces the environmental impact...