Design with sustainability top of mind

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With a greater emphasis on sustainability in the manufacturing process today more than ever, RPC Astrapak acknowledges the importance of incorporating various elements of sustainability into the initial design phase of a product to enable positive environmental impact throughout the supply chain.

Product design has the power to shape the complete lifecycle of a product and it is in the design stage where crucial alternatives are made which will ultimately affect the product’s lifecycle. Packaging fulfils a number of functions ranging from its basic shape through to ergonomics, protection of the product inside, economical production, intended functionality and of course, sustainability.

Incorporating the sustainability element into the design stage has become an important aspect of product creation. Minimising our environmental impact is considered during this initial stage while ensuring that our customers’ and the consumers’ needs are still met throughout the supply chain.

So how can packaging be designed with sustainability top of mind? There are four major elements we consider during the design stage, which are:

  • Carbon Emissions: are our products light enough so to reduce the carbon emissions associated with resource and transportation?
  • Protection: are we designing packaging that protects products so to reduce food waste which in turn reduces associated carbon emissions and water use?
  • Recycling: are we designing products that are easily recyclable or are we making use of recycled materials? Limiting packaging to one material if possible and ensuring that material is recycled in the locality it is sold is important.*
  • Re-use: are we designing products that can be reused so that is has a longer consumable life, and in turn reducing the burden on landfill sites?

These questions are crucial to providing a packaging solution with sustainability in the forefront of the design process, and RPC Astrapak recognises that sustainable design is more important than ever.

A simple checklist for design criteria includes reducing the number of materials used in the concept – incorporating recycled material in the product, reusing or repurposing the product, exploring the use of alternative materials to improve the environmental impact, integrate portion control or resealability, and consider if materials are widely recycled – whilst making sure these factors will not affect the quality and function of the product. Designing sustainable products requires a balance between innovation, efficiency, ease-of-use, and an ability to be recycled.

Our commitment to sustainability is already evident throughout our products’ life-cycles, but we continuously work to further our efforts and utilise innovation to create products that we can be certain will minimise their footprint on the environment whilst upholding our quality and durability.

Mylene Paynter