Skip Navigation LinksThe role of design in sustainable packaging

Horizontal divider
May 18
The role of design in sustainable packaging

Ocean plastics, packages made out of recycled materials, certified fibres, ecolabels and compostable products – these are just some of the topics that we hear in the daily discussions when talking about sustainability and the packaging world. For a conscious consumer it is a never-ending consideration of what would be the ultimate sustainable option. Without going too deeply into that conversation I would generalise by saying that instead of “the most sustainable option” the best are the ones that are suitable for exact need and have a working infrastructure in place that will be used. It is not worthwhile to use resources in towards having a recyclable product if it won’t be recycled but instead goes to waste-to-energy, or for example having a compostable product if it won’t be composted.

But what is the role of the design? It has been estimated that more than 80% of the environmental impacts of a product are determined at the design stage. Thus the important decisions are made in the beginning. This puts pressure on the designers for two reasons, and rightly so. Firstly, the field of sustainability aspects is wide and it is challenging to decide what would be the best option for a specific product. Secondly, quite often products will be exported and can end-up in regions of the world that have big differences in waste recycling infrastructure.

As there is not a one fits all solution, the key at the design stage from a sustainability perspective is to understand what the brand owner wants from the package, where it will be disposed, what are the existing waste infrastructure opportunities, how the combination of different materials works together when for example recycled and how to guide the consumer and promote to recycle the product correctly. The focus can be on the raw materials used through choosing renewable or recycled materials but it should also cover the end-of-life stage so that consumes have a choice to get rid of the package in a responsible way.

The world is changing and the impacts of climate change and resource scarcity become more and more visible to people around the globe. Also political pressure starts to have an impact. In order to reach the EU target for recycling 75% of the packaging waste by 2030, packaging needs to be recyclable by design. This often requires cross-border cooperation between different value chain members already at the early design stage. The momentum is now for us as an industry and individuals to make sustainable choices and create a smarter future together.

- Read more about our sustainable label solutions


 
  
Noora Markkanen
Senior Specialist, Sustainability, UPM Raflatac 

 
”Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow" – Albert Einstein

 Comments

 All Blogs

 

 

Labels: the missing link in sustainable packaginghttp://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=13Labels: the missing link in sustainable packaging2018-12-12T11:06:00Z
A truly circular system means free movement of materials – and informationhttp://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=12A truly circular system means free movement of materials – and information2018-11-20T12:06:00Z
New trends and fresh opportunities for food labels http://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=11New trends and fresh opportunities for food labels 2018-10-30T12:36:00Z
If you want to be sustainable, take actionhttp://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=10If you want to be sustainable, take action2018-10-11T07:27:00Z
It all started from the foresthttp://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=9It all started from the forest2018-09-27T11:10:00Z
Sustainability is our strategyhttp://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=8Sustainability is our strategy2018-06-14T07:06:00Z
The role of design in sustainable packaginghttp://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=7The role of design in sustainable packaging2018-05-18T07:19:00Z
Target 2030: Introducing the Biofore Site concepthttp://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=6Target 2030: Introducing the Biofore Site concept2018-04-27T09:40:00Z
A fresh look at the world of labelshttp://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=5A fresh look at the world of labels2018-04-13T07:15:00Z
The circular economy – time to be radical!http://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=4The circular economy – time to be radical!2018-03-09T06:02:00Z