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Sustainable Packaging Design

Beauty, Personal Care, Active, Smart Packaging, Sustainable Packaging, Recyclable Packaging

Do you think the need to incorporate sustainability into your packaging design will limit your creativity as a designer?

Each design decision can significantly influence the outcome, whether it will end up as degraded or enhanced. It is essential to deeply evaluate each step, from the base material choice to product decoration.

The design phase is extraordinarily essential. It determines the vast majority of the overall environmental and energy impacts of a package. You need to streamline the integration of material selection, physical design, and end of life considerations into a constructive design process.


First, is sustainable design different than just good design?

You cannot add sustainable design to your repertoire unless you already have good design basics under your belt. Why is it that some seem more successful or hit more pain points than others when new product designs are commercialized and professed to be sustainable?

APC Packaging believes it is due to our company culture, thought process, and execution.

Sustainable Education, Defining Innovation, and Design Intent are crucial points that must be addressed. These three main points will help you attain sustainable design concepts that can include but are not limited to incorporating recycled material, designing for disassembly, recyclability, reuse or refill, material weight reductions, multi-functionalism, optimizing waste management, energy efficiency, transportation reductions, etc.

This begs questions: how we do the work, how we go about the work, etc., and these are all necessary for a successful sustainable design.

Another slightly intangible aspect we need to be aware of is the intended consumers' relationship, not only with your potential design but also their relationship and perception of sustainability. Depending on the region your design will be released into, it can influence the consumers' perception of the design, how it works, and their perception if your design is sustainable in their opinion.

Without education, a purpose, and palpable intent, luck will be the only thing we can hope for in the end. So how do we go about attaining as many of these points as possible?


As indicated by the SPA (Sustainable Packaging Alliance), a package is considered "sustainable" if it meets the requirements given below:

  • Safe: No harm to the environment as well as human health.
  • Efficient: Green packaging materials.
  • Cyclic: Eco-friendly packaging inks and technologies.
  • Useful: Value and worth, helping in responsible decision making.


Why are innovation and defining innovation crucial to sustainable design?

It is imperative because if our current design premise, in general, does not include innovation as a core attribute of your culture of design, sustainable design will be lacking in critical features that bring about change. You will run into problems that may not necessarily be solved with solutions you used in the past. Sustainability, in general, is an afterthought in many cases, and some of your standardized ideas of design will be flipped upside down.

APC believes incorporating innovation into your culture by defining it will create a team that looks inside the box and outside it as well.

A company-based definition of innovation that is utilized and encouraged will bring about change and be contagious.


By defining innovation, it will affect your relationship & your team’s relationship with the word creativity.
Here is the definition of creativity by Creativity at Work.

Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity is characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, find hidden patterns, make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and generate solutions.

Many, especially engineers, feel creativity is only granted to those who can paint or create music. Creating music or painting is only one-way creativity can be expressed. This is not the only way creativity can express itself.
An example of simple creativity incorporated into design could be a new gate design that is more conducive to using PCR with multiple heat histories.

That is creativity from a real perspective that will push forward greater awareness of sustainability through your design!
Seeing these changes and anticipating these needs for a sustainable design is creative. Combining these small creative wins into one package creates buzz, a real interest in what was designed, and the beginnings of sustainable design culture. Through these wins, sustainable designs become the norm, not a random occurrence.


To address Design Intent and how it relates to sustainable design.

We are not alluding to Design Intent defined by many 3D cad modeling programs and its relation to the software itself. We are speaking more to the actual act of considering the environmental impact, feasibility, financial gain, social impact/consumer perception, and being consumer intuitive.

Mind mapping is an excellent tool that can be used to list, identify, map, and correlate all the different issues that need to be incorporated into the new design.

This act will enable you to identify issues, discover possible solutions and help lay a road map for sustainable design that means something to the industry.

To aid in the mapping, we have listed several key points that can be utilized to develop your Statement of Design Intent and start the grouping process.

  1. Sustainability Goals
  2. Aesthetic goals
  3. Material usage goals
  4. Brand perception goals
  5. Consumer intuitiveness
  6. Purity goals
  7. Economic goals
  8. Regulation or political goals


Becoming Educated in Sustainability, utilizing Design Intent, and Defining Innovation will cause you to reevaluate your relationship with Creativity and inspire Designing for Sustainability. To learn more about this, contact us now.

See also

  • Company News
  • English
  • Modified 05 Jul 2024
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