“There is no packaging that is currently environmentally sustainable or even environmentally friendly. All packaging will have a negative impact on the ecology of our planet.” That’s an excerpt from an article coming out in our next issue by Jon Davies and Natalie Alexander, principals of UK-based package design agency ButterflyCannon.
And they’re exactly right. There’s no possible way to reuse every piece of packaging created. But that’s still not stopping companies from trying to make their packaging as sustainable as possible.
In our November issue, we ran an article about the packaging laws governments are trying to enforce. These regulations could limit the amount of materials used to package CPG products and even determine the material type used. And while this could be an improvement for our environment, it could be a step backward in package design and product protection.
Hence the packaging war.
In France, Grenelle Environnement released an ad against excessive packaging. The commercial shows a man shopping in a grocery store with a “garbage monster” following him as he makes his choices. When he chooses a more environmentally friendly option, the monster shrinks in size. The commercial seemed like a humorous way to encourage more sustainable practices. However, French packaging company Elipso took an equally humorous stab back. They created an ad that showed a grocery store without any packaging. A shopper walks the aisles stuffing shredded cheese into his pockets, and draping slices of meat over his arm.
Elipso’s commercial is obviously a dramatization of what the world would be like without packaging, but nevertheless proves a point. Packaging plays an important role in product protection and freshness. Without it, we’d need to bring reusable, dishwasher-safe containers into stores to purchase food and beverages.
On the other hand, if boutiques like Unpackaged can do it on a smaller scale, maybe these radical changes aren’t as far off as we thought.