Both the Apple and HP examples above prove that even if packaging isn’t made from recycled/biodegradable/recyclable materials (and they should be), just plain reducing the number of pieces and layers can save money, resources, and consumer annoyance. In most cases, packaging exists as it does due to design inertia, not because it’s efficient. A pilot test on repackaging an electronic toothbrush for Philips reminds us that good design can solve (or at least reduce) environmental impacts:
“Philips asked the supplier AllpakTrojan if it could create a new package. Because manufacturers usually use one supplier for the plastic part of their packages and another for the cardboard, “even before you make anything you’ve lost a little efficiency in the design process,” said Dave Hoover, sales manager for AllpakTrojan.
With this project, though, AllpakTrojan could use a single material, and it went through a machine just once instead of the two to three times required for the traditional package. “From design to finish, it’s as efficient as it gets,” he said.”
Tech packaging is definitely an area that can be simplified to benefit both consumers, companies’ bottom lines, and the planet.
Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick and author of The Eco-Chick Guide to Life (St. Martin’s Press). A green living expert, she contributes to The Huffington Post and Mother Nature Network (MNN.com)