Tag Archives: sustainable packaging

How the Green Trend has Affected Product Design

Sustainable Future: How The Green Trend Has Affected Product Design

 



By LX Group on 12 September 2011

Sustainable Future: How The Green Trend Has Affected Product Design

It’s difficult to determine when the green trend started – whether it was back in the 90s when we all decided to save the whales and ban aerosol sprays or whether it was much recently when Al Gore won an Oscar and Nobel Prize for his travelling PowerPoint-documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” But, no matter when it began, there’s no denying that people these days have become more environmentally conscious, and the green trend is here to stay. Product designers have realized that everyone is going eco-crazy, whether that means going on green vacations, using green electronic products, and even having green weddings. And today, when designing any product, whether it’s a computer, a couch or the latest smart phone, being environmentally-friendly is almost a requirement. Of course, this goes without saying that green product demand has also increased and environmentally friendly products not only save money, but get profits flowing in.

Let’s look at the ways that this green trend has influenced product design.

‘Green’ Product Design Criteria
To design a truly green product, it must meet some or all of these criteria:
• Be non-toxic so as not to harm the environment, people and pets; In electronics products for example, must contain lead-free pcb boards.
• It can be recycled or recyclable, to reduce the amount of trash in the landfills;
• It must use energy responsibly, whether that means that products use only renewable energy sources such as wind, solar or geothermal power or will reduce energy use, such as electronic products that go into ‘sleep mode’ to conserve energy.
• To a certain extent, it must support environmental responsibility, such as eco-friendly practices, creating more green or local jobs, and even use fair and truthful marketing when selling their products

‘Green’ Materials
Understanding the materials used for any process is essential for any project and one of the first things many designers must master is the use of materials. Unlike 20 years ago, eco-friendly materials are now more available than ever. Eco-friendly plastics for example, which can be recycled or biodegradable, are now more widely available, but are also as tough and durable as their regular counterparts. Take the ubiquitous plastic water bottle, for example – simple to design but the material takes hundreds of years to decompose, and is quite toxic to the environment. Arizona-based Enso Bottles has developed a truly biodegradable plastic, by using an additive that helps the bottle degrade in as little as 250 days, without releasing any harmful gasses. Electronic manufacturers also use green materials for their own products. For example, LCD TVs which use carbon neutral biopaint, smart phones with bioplastic enclosures and electronic products which feature lead-free electronics pcb boards.

Product Manufacture
It’s not enough that your materials are eco-friendly, but the way you create your product should be as well. Consumers truly care about how a product is made, and so the construction of a product must also fit within green standards. For example, Kyocera, a Japanese firm, creates their own energy from solar power generating systems for their manufacturing plants and offices around the world. One of the problems of any manufacturing plant is not just the energy they use, but the amount of waste produced. Canada-based OKI Printing solutions, which produces printers and printing accessories, have reduced the wastes and harmful materials from their process, including the total removal of hexavalent chromium from their screws and implementing a waste segregation policy which has reduced their waste by 70%.

Electronic waste or e-waste is another prevalent problem, this time on the side of electronic product designers. In many cases, such as in with the CEH (Center for Environmental Health) in the United States, electronic design houses are encouraged to, design products that are eco-friendly and safe for the environment, whether that means creating non-toxic programs, or creating products which can easily be recycled.

Product Disposal
Aside from just waste disposal, the end-of-life disposal is just as important – what happens when a product is no longer useful and must be replaced? Previously, manufacturers just let their old products linger in the landfills, but for today’s environmentally-conscious consumer, that simply won’t do. Many manufacturers recycle their products, or donate their waste to other companies or organizations who can reuse their old materials. Electronics designers and manufacturers should, from the very beginning of the design process, should create “Take-back” campaigns wherein consumers are encouraged to bring their used electronics back to the manufacturer for proper disposal or better yet, recycling. Apple Computers in 2009, for example, figured out that they were emitting 9.6 million metric tons of greenhouses gases every year. So, within the next year, they re-evaluated their entire process – from designing, to manufacturing, transportation, product use, recycling and even how they their facilities (office, stores etc.) and made numerous changes that drastically reduced their carbon emissions. Their biggest expenditure when it came to carbon emissions was the manufacturing process itself (45%) and so they drastically reduced this by redesigning their products to be smaller, thinner and lighter, thus dramatically lowering their over-all carbon footprint.

The green trend, it seems, is here to stay. Electronic product designers and manufacturers must comply or be left behind. By keeping their products and processes eco-friendly, everyone – the designers, manufacturers and even the retailers are not just protecting their bottom-line, but the environment as well, ensuring that we all preserve the planet one product at a time.

 

image    http://moralcoral.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/sustainability-for-dummies/

How the Green Trend has Affected Product Design

Sustainable Future: How The Green Trend Has Affected Product Design


 

By LX Group on 12 September 2011

Sustainable Future: How The Green Trend Has Affected Product Design

It’s difficult to determine when the green trend started – whether it was back in the 90s when we all decided to save the whales and ban aerosol sprays or whether it was much recently when Al Gore won an Oscar and Nobel Prize for his travelling PowerPoint-documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” But, no matter when it began, there’s no denying that people these days have become more environmentally conscious, and the green trend is here to stay. Product designers have realized that everyone is going eco-crazy, whether that means going on green vacations, using green electronic products, and even having green weddings. And today, when designing any product, whether it’s a computer, a couch or the latest smart phone, being environmentally-friendly is almost a requirement. Of course, this goes without saying that green product demand has also increased and environmentally friendly products not only save money, but get profits flowing in.

Let’s look at the ways that this green trend has influenced product design.

‘Green’ Product Design Criteria
To design a truly green product, it must meet some or all of these criteria:
• Be non-toxic so as not to harm the environment, people and pets; In electronics products for example, must contain lead-free pcb boards.
• It can be recycled or recyclable, to reduce the amount of trash in the landfills;
• It must use energy responsibly, whether that means that products use only renewable energy sources such as wind, solar or geothermal power or will reduce energy use, such as electronic products that go into ‘sleep mode’ to conserve energy.
• To a certain extent, it must support environmental responsibility, such as eco-friendly practices, creating more green or local jobs, and even use fair and truthful marketing when selling their products

‘Green’ Materials
Understanding the materials used for any process is essential for any project and one of the first things many designers must master is the use of materials. Unlike 20 years ago, eco-friendly materials are now more available than ever. Eco-friendly plastics for example, which can be recycled or biodegradable, are now more widely available, but are also as tough and durable as their regular counterparts. Take the ubiquitous plastic water bottle, for example – simple to design but the material takes hundreds of years to decompose, and is quite toxic to the environment. Arizona-based Enso Bottles has developed a truly biodegradable plastic, by using an additive that helps the bottle degrade in as little as 250 days, without releasing any harmful gasses. Electronic manufacturers also use green materials for their own products. For example, LCD TVs which use carbon neutral biopaint, smart phones with bioplastic enclosures and electronic products which feature lead-free electronics pcb boards.

Product Manufacture
It’s not enough that your materials are eco-friendly, but the way you create your product should be as well. Consumers truly care about how a product is made, and so the construction of a product must also fit within green standards. For example, Kyocera, a Japanese firm, creates their own energy from solar power generating systems for their manufacturing plants and offices around the world. One of the problems of any manufacturing plant is not just the energy they use, but the amount of waste produced. Canada-based OKI Printing solutions, which produces printers and printing accessories, have reduced the wastes and harmful materials from their process, including the total removal of hexavalent chromium from their screws and implementing a waste segregation policy which has reduced their waste by 70%.

Electronic waste or e-waste is another prevalent problem, this time on the side of electronic product designers. In many cases, such as in with the CEH (Center for Environmental Health) in the United States, electronic design houses are encouraged to, design products that are eco-friendly and safe for the environment, whether that means creating non-toxic programs, or creating products which can easily be recycled.

Product Disposal
Aside from just waste disposal, the end-of-life disposal is just as important – what happens when a product is no longer useful and must be replaced? Previously, manufacturers just let their old products linger in the landfills, but for today’s environmentally-conscious consumer, that simply won’t do. Many manufacturers recycle their products, or donate their waste to other companies or organizations who can reuse their old materials. Electronics designers and manufacturers should, from the very beginning of the design process, should create “Take-back” campaigns wherein consumers are encouraged to bring their used electronics back to the manufacturer for proper disposal or better yet, recycling. Apple Computers in 2009, for example, figured out that they were emitting 9.6 million metric tons of greenhouses gases every year. So, within the next year, they re-evaluated their entire process – from designing, to manufacturing, transportation, product use, recycling and even how they their facilities (office, stores etc.) and made numerous changes that drastically reduced their carbon emissions. Their biggest expenditure when it came to carbon emissions was the manufacturing process itself (45%) and so they drastically reduced this by redesigning their products to be smaller, thinner and lighter, thus dramatically lowering their over-all carbon footprint.

The green trend, it seems, is here to stay. Electronic product designers and manufacturers must comply or be left behind. By keeping their products and processes eco-friendly, everyone – the designers, manufacturers and even the retailers are not just protecting their bottom-line, but the environment as well, ensuring that we all preserve the planet one product at a time.

image http://moralcoral.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/sustainability-for-dummies/

Cheese Plastic…No, We are Serious.

Well this is new, I have heard of corn plastics…but now Cheese plastics? This is quite interesting, if they are using products that would be waste I find that  quite resourceful. Please let me know what you think about this new technology! At ENSO were all about innovative technology that will make a difference and is good for the earth.
cheese

Is Cheese the Next Sustainable Packaging Solution?

http://icommittogreen.net/reduce/is-cheese-the-next-sustainable-packaging-solution/

Cheese makes a tasty addition to any meal, but did you ever guess it could be used for packaging?

Researchers say that a biodegradable plastic made from cheese byproducts could reduce the need for synthetic packaging and keep useful materials out of the landfill.

The bioplastic made from whey protein is the result of the three-year WheyLayer project, a European Commission-funded research and development project in Spain’s Catalonia region that aims to solve a common packaging woe.

In the food industry, oxidation of oils, fats and other components can lead to unpleasant colors and flavors. So, keeping oxygen out of packaged food is essential.

SEE: 5 Absurdly Over-Packaged Foods

Plastics like PE (polyethylene) and PP (polypropylene) are excellent moisture-blockers, but to keep out oxygen, they must be coated with expensive synthetic polymers.

Most of these polymers – such as EVOH (ethylene vinyl alcohol polymer) and PVDC (polyvinylidene chloride polymer) – are petroleum-based and extremely difficult to reuse, as it is almost impossible to separate each layer for individual recycling.

Whey, the milk protein byproduct of cheese production, provides similar oxygen-blocking properties, but it’s much cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

The new packaging – developed by Barcelona-based research company IRIS – replaces synthetics with whey protein-coated plastic fibers, which could save loads of money and make packaging more readily recyclable.

After packaging is used, whey protein can be chemically or enzymatically removed, and underlying plastic can be easily recycled or reused to make new packaging.

RECYCLING MYSTERY: Bioplastics

In addition to saving money and raw materials, the new application could also keep millions of tons of whey out of European landfills. Each year, European cheese factories produce 50 million tons of whey. Some of it is reused as food additives, but almost 40 percent is thrown away.

Discarded whey collected from cheese producers can be filtered and dried to extract the pure whey protein, which can be used in several thin layers to create a plastic film for use in food packaging.

While the packaging is subject to patent applications, researchers expect it to appear in consumer products within a year. The bioplastic is expected to be used for cosmetics packaging first, and food packaging applications will follow.

The technology will likely be used in the European market at first. But many companies from around the globe showed interest in the packaging when researchers took it to the Interpack international trade fair for packaging and processes back in May.

Green Packaging goes Beyond Size

egg carton

 

 

Sustainable Packaging Goes Beyond Size

by Walmart on 08.22.11   Business & Politics
Photo credit: FotoosVanRobin/Creative Commons

This guest post was written by Ronald Sasine, senior director of packaging at Walmart.

When you buy a product, your decision drives a series of environmental impacts. Imagine the benefits if everyone considered the impact of packaging as part of their buying decisions, benefits measured in the billions of pounds of packaging manufactured, shipped and disposed of each year.

When we talk about more sustainable packaging at Walmart, we’re focusing on more than just smaller packaging. We’re looking at the entire life cycle of packaging and knowing that improvement can take many forms:

Rethinking a product. A few years ago, we began selling only concentrated liquid laundry detergent. By urging our suppliers to reexamine their products’ formulation, we eliminated hundreds of millions of pounds of packaging and saved natural resources.

Rethinking a process. By simply stacking Galaxy box fans differently on a shipping pallet, we saw annual savings of 10,000 pounds of plastic and 113 fewer trucks on the road, reducing diesel use by 12,600 gallons and freight costs by $150,000.

Rethinking a presentation. By working directly with our large toy suppliers, Walmart has been able to eliminate the frustrating wire ties used to secure toys in packaging. This effort will keep more than a billion feet of wire out of the landfill annually.

One other thing to notice about these changes—you don’t just find them at Walmart. As we work with suppliers to find better options, those improvements are showing up on the shelves of other retailers, increasing the impact we can have beyond our own “four walls.”

Walmart has a goal to reduce our packaging by 5% by 2013 (using a 2008 baseline), and we’re making significant progress. Of course, it hasn’t always been easy. We’re working to ensure that improved packaging still protects the products we sell, and we’re working with our customers and members to gain their acceptance. Some packaging changes have taken longer for customers to understand and endorse.

When we announced our package reduction goal in 2008, some of our suppliers saw a great opportunity and jumped in to partner with us on some creative changes. But not everyone was convinced it was right for business. Some suppliers worried about changing their processes, while others worried about investing in new equipment. However, when they realized how serious we were about packaging and that we would work with them and reward them for better packaging, they became very enthusiastic about the effect they can have on the industry by, well, thinking outside the box.

Better packaging benefits everyone along the supply chain, from the manufacturer to the customer. Walmart’s private label wine, Oak Leaf, is a great example. The manufacturer found a way to reduce the amount of glass used in the bottle by changing the design of the neck and reducing the punt (the dimple on the bottom of a wine bottle). In addition to reducing packaging weight by 8 million pounds, carbon dioxide by 3,100 tonnes and taking 280 trucks off the road, these simple changes reduced the price of Oak Leaf by 20 cents per bottle.

We’ve made many of the easy changes; now it’s time to tackle the more difficult challenges like installing new packaging equipment to that requires long-term planning and partnership with our suppliers.

Working toward more sustainable packaging isn’t optional; it’s a priority and it’s a large part of our business plan. For suppliers it’s a chance to differentiate themselves from their competitors. For Walmart it’s an opportunity to provide more value to our customers, to be innovative, think creatively and make changes that can improve the retail industry.

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