Collaboration & creativity to design away from waste

Illustration by @eshakespeare

Impact Printing Going digital to improve sustainability

In most cases packaging plays a vital role in how we protect and safely distribute products. But the spotlight is firmly on organisations to demonstrate how they are addressing packaging waste and leading on climate action. So, what can brands do to drive innovation and achieve their sustainability targets?

A great place to start is within production. Digital printing is offering a promising approach to achieving sustainability goals. It drastically reduces packaging waste, as you only produce what you need thus avoiding the creation of unnecessary excess packaging. It also avoids the need for the lead times associated with analogue printing, and all the plates, cylinders and calibration drastically improving speed to market through reduced print run timings. Combined, it’s estimated digital printing could reduce supply chain waste by up to 26% and reduce the process carbon footprint by anywhere between 65-80%.

With so many brands working towards sustainability goals and up to 51% of shoppers wanting to buy more sustainably, it also provides a flexible medium to influence positive behaviours and clearly communicate a brands’ sustainability message to strengthen engagement.

The race to regenerate is on, we’d love to help you realise your sustainable packaging goals.

Sensitivity & innovation to maximise materials

Illustration by @eshakespeare

‘Urth’ by L’Oréal Students re-imaging sustainable Beauty

We stumbled across Andi Li’s algae-based lipstick concept and were blown away with the holistic thinking and creativity behind what is inherently such a problematic piece of packaging.

Conventional lipstick packaging is often non-recyclable due to its size and different commingled materials making it near impossible to be identified and processed in current waste management streams. Li has designed a refillable container made from only 5 components that not only extends the lifespan of the packaging but reduces the complexity and number of components compared to conventional formats. Using algae as an innovative material choice for the design, allows the dispenser to be safely home composted after its multiple uses. It also offers a renewable alternative to current lipstick formulas, of which about 40% of any given formula is derived from petroleum.

It’s truly inspiring to see the level of detail that’s gone into the life cycle approach of this concept which identified extraction, excessive parts, and end of life as the key hotspots to resolve through the design. Applying lifecycle thinking to any packaging solution is essential if we’re to achieve planet positive outcomes and shift away from our throw-away, wasteful cultures.

Harmonise with our planet to regenerate

Illustration by @eshakespeare

IPCC Climate Report Fighting climate change through creativity

Last month’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report issued an urgent warning that irreversible and unprecedented changes to the planet are being caused by our climate crisis. The ‘code red for humanity’ highlights human influence is largely accountable for the 1.1degrees C of temperature increase since pre-industrial times.

To curb further catastrophic impacts, it is essential that net-zero carbon by 2050 be the minimum target to try and achieve a 1.5degree world. So how can design help combat our climate crisis?

Up to 80% of the environmental impacts from a product are defined in the early design stages. Taking a holistic, lifecycle approach to design will enable us to mitigate negative impacts and design with our finite world in mind. Applying circular design thinking to any problem solving will highlight ways to design out waste and pollution, work to regenerate natural resources and, a must have for FMCG, look for solutions to prolong the use of materials and move away from single use which comes with a huge cost to the planet.

It’s also time to start measuring, now. Getting a baseline measure of your packaging footprint through a lifecycle assessment is essential to defining packaging strategies that can look to eliminate waste and emissions across the packaging supply chains, while provide validation of the most environmentally considered material for the functional requirements of your packaging.

But remember, you’re not alone! All brands big and small are on this journey and with the climate clock ticking, it’s important we collaborate to work towards our global sustainability goals. With long complex supply chains, it won’t be a simple fix, but we have the know-how and capabilities to unite and lead change.

Future Temperatures Chart

Our Friends of the Earth thoughts are brought to you in collaboration with philo & co.

philo & co are a circular design consultancy helping creative agencies and brands transition to a circular economy. Pippa, the Founder of philo & co, is a Circulab certified circular design consultant and has more than 10 years’ experience within the creative industry working with global design agencies and leading FMCG brands.

Pippa brings a holistic view in solving the systemic challenges required to transition from linear to circular design by embedding regenerative thinking and practices into the heart of organisations. In 2020, she became a Climate Reality Leader following training by the Climate Reality Corps, led by Al Gore. When Pippa is not thinking of how to rid the world of waste, she is usually at the beach or enjoying a hearty meal (and wine) with friends.

Teamwork is dreamwork.