Problem Solving - Sustainability and E-Commerce

Box designed specifically for E-commerce

Retailers, brands and their packaging partners are all under mounting pressure to help lower our environmental impact. For those of us with a passion for innovation, this is a great time to be in the design business. And what about all those delivery trucks crowding our neighborhoods and leaving a giant carbon footprint? Nevermind, that’s for another story.

Today, I want to talk about how brands and designers are meeting the challenge with innovations that reduce packaging and increase recyclability. Specifically, recycling that capitalizes on the efficient material recycling capabilities we currently have online and that are widely available. We have a long way to go with certain material types and capacity, but in the coming years that will definitely change.

E-Commerce . . . Easy-pack, easy-ship, easy-open, easy-reach

E-commerce cleaning products often come with a lot of extra packing materials, making them a heavy load for the environment. We recently worked with Invisible Glass® to come up with a solution that actually solves a number of problems. 

Invisible Glass® makes a Reach & Clean™ Tool that helps consumers clean their glass better. They recently launched the second generation with numerous improvements. The original tool package was a welded plastic clamshell with printed card stock components inside. The plastic was perforated on the back to open, but it created sharp edges, and the tool components were not easy to remove. Also, when it came time to ship the product, an additional box and packing materials were needed. The result was a “not so premium experience” for the consumer at home and lots of packing materials that often ended up in the trash.

The new packaging actually delivers a highly upgraded unboxing experience — think iPhone or MacBook Pro. Product components are organized in layers, resulting in a controlled product reveal. The inside tray organizes product components while other components act as the packing material. The package design is all corrugated (inside tray and outer box) without the need for any additional shipping box or packing materials. The result is a single material recyclable package (made with recycled content) that functions as the “ships-in box” and in the end, delivers a better unboxing experience for the consumer.



Looking ahead

Many retailers like Walmart have posted demands that packaging materials be fully recyclable in the next few years. Some are following Walmart’s lead and aiming for 2025. That means brands, packaging designers, and material suppliers will have to work together and get even more innovative in their design thinking.

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