13th January 2022

Must-see sustainable packaging design

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Jamie Robinson

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Rubbish, literally.

Becoming more environmentally friendly is the goal for many companies when looking at sustainable packaging. The problem is many businesses get caught up in the idea that it won’t ‘look great.’ We’re here to bust that myth with some cutting edge sustainable packaging designs and innovative recycled packaging solutions.

I've been looking at my favourite (top-notch) design inspiration over the last year. New to the series? Feel free to catch up with one, two, three, four, and five but it’s a new year, it’s time for some new inspiration and a new series.

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When it comes to household packaging, local authorities collect an estimated 2.4 million tonnes of plastic packaging every year, yet according to analysis by RECOUP just 230,000 tonnes of household plastic is actually recycled. This suggests that less than 10% of what you’re putting in your bins is actually being recycled. This is where PLUS comes in, offering a waste-free body wash that comes in dissolvable packaging. 90% of what you find in a typical body wash is water, which will more often than not come in single-use packaging making it impossible to recycle. The foam dehydrated sheets start to dissolve once you add water and apply to your body, and the best part is you just drop the packaging onto the drain and it will disintegrate completely. Oh, and did I mention that the creative brand design and colours are pretty fresh too.

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Chatu is a premium Chinese tea collected in Sichuan, Henan, and Fujian provinces. The creative packaging concept might look a bit like an almond nut at first glance, but if you zoom your eyes in you begin to realise that the textures and ripples repeat the same shapes of the plantation on which the tea is harvested. But the connections don’t stop there; the colours match each of the three types of tea (white, green and red). This creates a packaging solution that isn’t just eye-catching, but is breathable and as environmentally friendly as possible.

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Must-see sustainable packaging design

Any frequent watcher of Dragons’ Den on BBC one might have already seen a glimpse of this smart alternative to using plastic in chewing gum - I bet the judges are chewing over their decisions now. Nuud is a brand that has gone back in history to rediscover a way to make chewing gum plastic free and biodegradable, using a sustainably harvested tree sap called Chicle as a gum base. Major chewing gum brands don’t disclose that they use plastic in their products, as legally, they can just use the term ‘gum base’ - disgusting right? Well, this brand stands out from the crowd, with a clever wordmark that resembles some pearly whites, bold colours and a cute little illustrated character.

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Bulk is a brand that I was going to leave off the list for two reasons. Reason one, the rebrand by Robot Food, was announced way back in 2020, and two, because I really didn’t like it. As someone who struggles to meet my own dietary requirements, I’ve shopped around for the supplements for years. I’d bought from Bulk many times before (previously known as Bulk Powders), and although they offer reasonably priced products, I just didn’t get the premium feel. It wasn’t until more recent purchases that I realised that I’d been too judgemental about this brand evolution. The current nutritional market is saturated with buff bodies and fake claims. Instead of conforming with the standard, Bulk has challenged the norm with an inclusive, lowercase logomark and a brand that showcases pastel, earthy colours. What’s even better is that Bulk is active and aware of the environmental issues we face today. Over 90% of their pouches and all of their pill pots have transitioned to sustainable alternatives. And whilst that is impressive in itself, I can say with confidence that they now feel premium - fixing the one thing that put me off as a customer before.

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In recent years, associations around tattoos have become more positive. There’s a wide range of branded aftercare products available, but few use sustainable materials or packaging. This is where Manik Skincare comes in, featuring a beautiful illustrated botanical design on Sulapac’s Nordic collection by Quadpack. This material is made from FSC-certified wood chips from industrial waste streams and plant-based materials. That makes it biodegradable and leaves no plastic waste behind. But it’s not just about packaging; the selection of balms and creams took two years to develop and are entirely vegan.

The importance of sustainable packaging is becoming more and more prevalent. It reduces both the brand’s and consumer’s environmental impact. As it’s one of the most significant challenges we all face today, reducing our ecological footprint is vital in moving toward a better tomorrow. Some businesses have their objections. In the past, that has primarily been down to the aesthetic ‘look-and-feel’ of packaging and how sustainable packaging can’t be ‘on-brand.’ The recent moves towards sustainable packaging is disproving such claims. You only need to look at the design examples in this article to know moving toward sustainable packaging is the right call.

If you’re looking to reduce your environmental impact with refreshed creative packaging and impressive design ideas to go alongside it, get in touch, and we’d be happy to discuss your shift towards sustainable packaging.

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