Scott told me in an email, “Since switching to the paper-based packaging (which had virtually no cost penalty relative to styrofoam), our damage rate has been 0%. No damage at all. There’s really no reason for everyone not to be using the stuff, but it’s been a huge struggle to convince some of the overseas manufacturers I do design work for to even consider it.” Scott’s not the only eco-conscious designer who has found solutions through paper; Litl webbooks packages their mini-laptop in a wholly paper-and-cardboard combination, and it works so well (and looks so fab) that it won the iF Communications Design Awards and will be featured in iD Magazine.
According to the company’s site, “Litl‘s packaging for the webbook enables the company to ship its computers in their own boxes – a decision that reduced Litl’s carbon footprint by eliminating the need for additional boxes and minimizing the space needed for transportation. The entire package is made from recyclable paper with no plastics or foams in use.The webbook’s packaging also includes non-traditional ways of presenting standard accessories. Instead of inserting an instruction manual, litl collaborated with acclaimed illustrator David Macaulay to create several whimsical cards to introduce the world to the way the webbook works. Additionally, the packaging for the webbook’s remote control simply resembles a paper pouch, a design choice that mimics the experience of tearing open a bag of potato chips.”
From high-end furniture to computers, these two examples prove that with a little thoughtful design, we really CAN avoid some of the most hazardous and polluting packaging materials out there.
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)