This award-winning paper packaging will reduce the beauty industry’s plastic waste

The Dieline Awards 2020 had some of the most amazing innovative entries but Pearl caught my attention for two main reasons – it was the plastic-free innovation winner of the year and it looked straight out of the little mermaid’s treasure box! Pearl is a paper pod packing solution by BillerudKorsnas and Syntegon who wanted to create a more sustainable fiber-based alternative with a premium aesthetic while also focusing on the portions to reduce waste.

Portion packaging is common in many industries but most widely used in the beauty industry, notorious for their waste generation, for the sample product packaging. Brands usually resort to plastic because it can easily be molded and designed to fit their image and unique experiences and because paper packaging hasn’t been accepted as ‘pretty’ just yet – Pearl is here to change that outlook. The designers combined their work on two previous projects that also revolved around replacing plastic packaging with sustainable alternatives. “Inspired by life and shapes of the sea, we then conceptualized the project named Pearl. What makes it special are the 3D-properties enabled by the FibreForm paper and manufacturing technology. Resulting in unique tactile experiences and embossed shapes of the paper shell, driving new business opportunities,” said the design team.

This paper pod aims to replace the plastic for product samples, inserts, refills, portion packs, and disposable packaging for sustainable brand owners that match their high business goals with high environmental ambitions. Pearl is a natural packaging alternative that fits within the aesthetics of the beauty industry while also reducing its negative impact on the environment. Designs like Pearl are important to showcase the malleability of eco-friendly materials to that they can be more widely accepted while still being “on brand” and I might argue that being eco-conscious in 2020 should be “on-brand” for everyone.

Designers: BillerudKorsnas and Syntegon

Sustainable rice packaging becomes an artistic tissue box in afterlife

The Srisangdao rice grows in Thailand in a controlled environment and every year only a limited quality is produced. Because of how special the rice is, the environment where it grows and how it is stored is given the utmost care making sure there are no chemicals hampering the quality. To showcase Thung Kula Ronghai’s efforts of growing this gorgeous grain, a designer reimagined the packaging as a tribute to the process with a purpose that went beyond preserving rice.

The packaging is created using chaffs, a natural waste product from husking, which very literally incorporates the process which the designers wanted to celebrate through this product. The box has simple yet meaningful art surrounding the Srisangdao rice – it is die-formed with an oversized rice grain embossed on it which is the main artistic element. The grain graphic is complemented with wave-like lines and smaller embossed design of the crop in full bloom. The designer has also burn-stamped the logo of the rice mill from the Thung Kula Ronghai region on the box. A thoughtful detail that really completes the picture is the rice inside comes in a miniature sack just like the traditional one. All these pieces put together truly bring out the different elements of the rice’s identity and lifecycle.

What makes this organic packaging more interesting is the fact that it can be used as a tissue box after it has served its purpose of storing rice. It is completely eco-friendly as well as recyclable and generates minimal production waste. To see how a simple rice packaging can completely be reimagined and redesigned to tell a story while still providing value after its main job is done is an inspiration to continue being creative.

Designer: Somchana Kangwarnjit

Sustainable straws that don’t get soggy and saves turtles!

The world, as a whole, has started to care for turtles and has quickly moved on to use eco-friendly straws. The options are metal straws and paper straws. Metal straws are good for homes and for people to carry them to their office but it is an inconvenient option for eateries. So cafes and restaurants have adopted paper straws as they are easily recyclable and don’t require the effort of cleaning. However, the only problem with paper straws is that they get soggy and your drink will taste like wet paper and you might accidentally eat a bit of it – both things don’t leave a good “taste” in your mouth and can deter people from using sustainable straws. Straw Wars – sustainable products vs drinks that taste like paper, who will win?

To solve this behavioral and environmental issue a Warsaw-based company has designed a better alternative straw made with dried stems! It solves the biggest problem we face with paper straws, it does not soak the liquid and it does not add any flavor to the drink – it is true. Stem straws work for both hot and cold drinks so we can make the collective effort to reduce the impact of plastic straws on the environment. The USA alone uses 500 million straws daily so you can imagine what the total global usage would be. According to One Less Straw fund, every year, as a result of swallowing pieces of plastic debris, 100,000 marine animals and about a million seabirds are die. This is why we need to make the switch to sustainable straws, so if you keep losing your metal straw then get a pack of STRAWS which has 50 stem straws and comes in 100% recycled cardboard packaging.

The inspiration behind the STRAWS was an old childhood memory – when you visit your grandmother in the village, go out into the field, grab a spikelet and drink fresh milk through it. Those very children grew up and turned to their roots to make this ingenious sustainable product that reduces the toxic impact of plastic on our environment. The product was inspired by Slavic traditions of making decor dried stems. The wicker shapes on the packaging are called “spiders” because in centuries-old Slavic culture it is believed that “spiders” protect the houses of villagers from fires, hurricanes and other natural disasters which made it a fitting symbol for the straws protecting nature.

Designer: PG Brand Reforming

Cup Noodles made eco-friendly with this 100% paper packaging design!

Who doesn’t love a cup of steamy instant noodles? And who hates the fact that the container is so toxic? Low-quality plastic and harmful polystyrene make the cup that holds your noodles – and we all know what happens when heat and plastic mix. The packaging is not only bad for the environment but can leave minuscule toxic residue in your noodles which can be dangerous for your health, especially if you consume them often as these particles build up in your system over time.

A study shows that in 2018 alone 103 billion packets of instant noodles were sold worldwide. The global demand for it is soaring because it is easy to cook, saves time and is budget-friendly which makes it extremely popular among young people. You can imagine the waste produced by 103 billion packets and cups so we as a society must strive to create a sustainable future by tackling the packaging challenges of one of the world’s biggest industries.

Fortunately, we have an answer – 100% paper noodle packaging created by Australian student Emily Enrica. Her design is called Paper Noodle which will stick in your memory because it is so easy. Her packaging is made from paper pulp which is 100% biodegradable, recyclable, microwave safe and FDA tested food safe. The design of the box is ergonomic which makes it comfortable to hold even when the contents inside are hot. The belly band of the box is made of debossed paper pulp too. It comes with a cover label that keeps the noodles sealed. Even the spoon is made of paper pulp further reducing waste. Now that is a cup of noodles – serves you and the environment!

Designer: Emily Enrica

A sustainable takeout box to save 500 years of recycling styrofoam!

In 2017 while I was living in California, the local government made the laws around using styrofoam (polystyrene) even more strict and all restaurants around my office stopped doing take-outs for a short while due to lack of a better alternative for the cheap boxes – just one example of how dependent we are as a society on styrofoam that we are turning a blind eye to its toxic effects. Designer Ross Dungan wants to solve this problem with a creative solution without destroying the cultural icon – the clamshell takeout box – of the Netflix generation.

Styrofoam has a 24-hour lifespan but it is formed with materials that can last for 500 years, can you imagine the landfills at the rate we consume this product? “We need to stop and think about the environmental costs of our lifestyle,” says Dungan when talking about the notoriously single-use packaging that has been adopted worldwide. The box itself is so widely recognized that is has transcended continents and languages, so Dungan’s design aims to leverage its easy recall value while delivering a stronger message on sustainable living.

The product is rightly called Leftovers and hopes to be a design that disrupts normalization of polystyrene before it can become a mass-scale direct solution to the problem, the first step is to educate. For convenience and functionality, it is also dishwasher safe and recyclable. The redesigned box has a stainless steel body that enhances its functionality as a reusable food container while also bringing attention to how one small change can reduce the amount in our trash can. This visible change on an individual level can lead to a positive change in behavior without feeling like it was a drastic turn from what the general society is used to – this makes it easier to adapt to new habits quicker.

Designer: Ross Dungan.

This article was sent to us using the ‘Submit A Design’ feature.

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This reusable protective case is egg-cellent for your next grocery haul!

What is the biggest fear we have when buying groceries? The guy bagging them will inevitably place something on top of the eggs and the rest of your stuff will be covered in egg slime. Surely, I can’t be the only one who has experienced that, so when I saw the Egg Guardian case I got super eggcited – get it?

Now, this is a conceptual design made for a research project about sustainable food packaging but I know we all want this to come to life ASAP because it is just ‘eggcellent’! The Egg Guardian was aimed at reducing packaging waste and protecting the eggs from bad grocery packing strategies. It is designed to be made from aluminum because of the material’s recyclable qualities, durability, and ease of cleaning. It will also be created to fold into a flat sheet when not in use so that it can be carried around or stored without trouble.

I love it when a design is simple and yet has eggstraordinary (I can go on and on) impact on packaging and food waste management.

Designer: Stephanie Alexander

Make authentic Japanese matcha like the ancient masters with just one button!

Gone are the days when you just picked between tea and coffee; now it is about matcha, kombucha, spirulina, and activated charcoal drinks! Yes, everything in my previous sentence is real – it is enough to fluster anyone going to a cafe and trying to order healthy. My mother rightfully said “Why to pay for it outside when you can make it at home?” which brings me to another CES 2020 innovation award honoree – the matcha tea maker for home.

This matcha maker is compact and sleek, making it perfect for homes, offices, any space with an outlet because it is portable. This matcha maker stays true to its Japanese roots and lets you enjoy an authentic cup every time by using freshly ground leaves from its ceramic mill for individual uses, just like the masters do. The movements of the traditional bamboo whisk are replicated by the magnetic whisker that mixes cold water with the tea for a frothy matcha-presso!

Matcha tea has been challenging coffee by providing lasting energy without jitters or caffeine crashes making it the hero for non-coffee drinkers. The all-in-one tea maker also comes with an aluminum canister to keep your leaves fresh and supports sustainable tea farming with eco-friendly packaging, they really mean green business in every sense. My personal tip on enjoying matcha is with steamed almond milk (oat milk if you have a nut allergy) for chilly days or with lemon sparkling water for summer – you will love it as matcha I do!

Designer: Cuzan Matcha

A sustainable toothpaste packaging design that thinks outside the box – literally!

The next time you go to a general store, take a look around you carefully. You’ll notice how heavy the packaging is around the smallest of items and it will mostly be plastic. There is so much redundant boxing of products that we’ve made hours of content on “unboxing” them. Let’s start with solving this problem for one of the most popular everyday products and the first step to our mornings – toothpaste!

An academic project came gave birth to Coolpaste – the eco-friendly alter ego of our trusty old toothpaste. The aim was to develop a sustainable packaging design for toothpaste in a way that didn’t affect their durability while being transported or stacked on shelves. For the purpose of the project, Colgate toothpaste was used as the object of study. Coolpaste not only got a physical makeover that was better for the environment, but the graphic elements of the product were also refreshed to reflect the goal of the project. The paper box was eliminated after an in-depth point-of-sale study without affecting the integrity of the toothpaste. This made the product lighter, reduced waste, and simplified branding also eliminated the chemical inks making Coolpaste a success in terms of sustainable packaging and ecodesign.

In the final proposal, Coolpaste was presented as a product that would hang instead of being stacked and it’s packaging was not only recyclable but also biodegradable. This design would solve logistical and environmental issues for global toothpaste brands if implemented. Coolpaste also comes with a cap(e)!

Designer: Academic project by Allan Gomes for the Federal University of Minas Gerais.

Coca-Cola using recycled marine plastic waste in it’s latest bottle is an inspiration for FMCGs!

In 2019, the need for sustainability, recycling, and eco-friendly products has reached an all-time high. With the advanced technology that is available nowadays, letting your carbon print run amok is simply not an option anymore. And it seems like Coca-Cola has decided to hop onto the wagon as well! In 2018, a Greenpeace report showed that Coca-Cola was found to be the world’s largest corporate plastic polluter. The report consisted of a survey of 239 cleanups in 42 countries, across six continents. The clean-up lead to more than 180,000 pieces of plastic being collected. Coca-Cola along with Nestle and PepsiCo were the perpetrators that accounted for 14% of the (branded) waste items.

Thankfully, it seems like such a revelation was a wakeup call for Coca-Cola! Coca-Cola has unveiled its first-ever prototype bottle made from previously unusable and low-quality marine waste plastic, which was recovered and recycled. Coca-Cola has deemed this technology “breakthrough”. The company in collaboration with Ioniqa Technologies, Indorama Ventures, and Mares Circulares has created a batch of 300 sample bottles, consisting of 25% recycled ocean plastic. This plastic waste was collected by volunteers from 84 beaches in Spain and Portugal, and by trawlers in the Mediterranean, through the Mares Circulares initiative. Coca-Cola claims “[It] is the first successful attempt to incorporate ocean plastics in food and drink packaging.” This impressive process is called ‘depolymerization’. Before depolymerization, colored and low quality plastic could not be recycled. But this process of ‘enhanced recycling’ “breaks down the components of plastic and strip out impurities in lower-grade recyclables so they can be rebuilt as good as new”. Coca-Cola explains, “This means that lower-grade plastics that were often destined for incineration or landfill can now be given a new life. It also means more materials are available to make recycled content, reducing the amount of virgin PET needed from fossil fuels, and resulting in a lower carbon footprint.”

“Enhanced recycling technologies are enormously exciting, not just for us but for industry and society at large,” said Bruno van Gompel, technical and supply chain director of Coca-Cola’s Western Europe division. “They accelerate the prospect of a closed-loop economy for plastic, which is why we are investing behind them. As these begin to scale, we will see all kinds of used plastics returned, as good as new, not just once but again and again, diverting waste streams from incineration and landfill. “Coca-Cola has big huge plans for their latest breakthrough. From 2020, the company plans to introduce this enhanced recycled material in some of its bottles. Across Western Europe, Coca Cola plans to integrate 100% recycled marine plastic in all it’s bottles, whereas in Great Britain they are aiming to reach 50% by next year.

Taking heed from their previous careless behavior when it comes to the environment, Coca-Cola seems adamant to leave their mark in the field of sustainability and recycling, and we cannot help but commend their efforts!

Designer: Coca-Cola in collaboration with Ioniqa Technologies, Indorama Ventures and Mares Circulares.