The journey to the center of sustainability
When it comes to the much discussed sustainability – the ecological one, mind you – it is about nothing more and nothing less than saving our planet. It is about leaving our children a world as beautiful and safe as it was for us when we were children. And it is about all of us setting a good example.
Of course, packaging must also make its small but significant contribution to this. The possibilities for this are manifold. And yet they are so small. At least when you enter the wide world of sustainable packaging completely unprepared and have to deal with the complexity and the antagonisms hidden within it in a forced and parallel way.
Let’s dare to enter this world of sustainable packaging a little anyway:
Idealistic as we are, we are immediately struck by the appealing idea of materials that are designed to optimize the use of resources. Bio-based or even bio-compostable plastics and their sustainability are easily communicated in an advantageous way. But how resource-saving and climate-friendly is that really in the end? And how can the topic of proper disposal be communicated all the way to the end consumer?
If we take a few steps further into this fascinating, ever-changing world, we become aware of the issue of recycling. This is also an idea that can almost be described as “love at second sight”. So at least the discarded packaging is then recycled, we think. But as soon as we fall in love, further doubtful questions arise. Also in the direction of climate protection. Also in the direction of smooth disposal. In the end, what can really be separated and reprocessed so easily?
A question that immediately leads us to the next, very spontaneously very attractive option for sustainable packaging: the Design for Recycling – affectionately called D4R – which describes the design of packaging with regard to smooth recyclability. Complex and solid compounds as well as combinations of materials to be disposed of differently are avoided. But to what extent is D4R feasible, for example, when multi-layer material composites are required to ensure the protection of sensitive products? How can products that have also benefited from the high degree of convenience offered by their comparatively complex packaging still convince end consumers who continue to focus on convenience?
In the distant future of the world of sustainability, we could still be discovering other possibilities for sustainable packaging: old familiar concepts such as minimizing the use of materials and the idea of reusable packaging, but also new and innovative ones. However, by this time many have already exhausted their journey.
A long story told short: Many questions have not yet been clarified, so far apparently only with regard to plastics and in a few other directions. Which materials will be in the public eye in the future is still open. And what happens in the end – in the truest sense of the word – with disposal? Will everything be incinerated again in the end, including our good intentions? And what is the way forward then?
Because there is one. So much for the good news.
In case you are still looking for the right way take a look at our services in the fild of Sustainable Packaging + Eco Packaging Design.