Green Packaging for the Planet
Caring for the environment to combat the climate crisis is one of the most pressing causes of today – and top of mind for many talented designers pushing for more sustainable solutions in packaging design in this year's iF DESIGN AWARD
Plastic revolutionized modern society and yet take-away cups and packaging made of plastic are a standard of everyday life. However, as landfills and collections of plastic afloat in the oceans are increasing and causing even further damage, caring for the environment to combat the climate crisis has become one of the most pressing causes of today and tomorrow. Innovations are needed to tackle the crisis of plastic waste and pollution. They should take a direction that presents plastic as a material designed to be safely reused, recycled or composted. For many talented designers it is already the aim to pushing for more sustainable solutions in packaging design. The mantra is: Go green.
This year’s iF DESIGN AWARD winners in the category of Packaging Design show what’s possible when principles of recycling and sustainable methods of packaging are embraced. The most successful designs and concepts consider what happens to the packaging once it has been removed, as the gold award-winning examples of the "REfill REuse REpeat cream jar" illustrates. The idea here is to keep the “mother” jar and only buy refills instead of purchasing a completely new jar.
iF AWARD-WINNING DESIGNS 2021
What lots of these iF awarded entries share, though, is the goal of making sure that the plastic we produce is kept in use for as long as possible and then regenerated at the end of their service life. Hence, design is understood as an essential element in the shift to a circular economy in which plastic should never become waste or pollution in the first place.
From lush flora and fauna to sparkling springs and life-filled oceans – in order to making a difference to save our beautiful planet, we should break the pattern of our convenience consumer-related lifestyle. Clean-ups are not enough to end the plastic crisis. Way too many single-use products or plastics end up in our waters and soils as microplastics, contributing to the current damaging situation of our nature. Yet there are still predominantly packaging materials circulating that are too hard or expensive to recycle.
The good news? Many designers are exploring alternatives to fossil-based plastics. Product designers in particular are at the forefront of making packaging more eco-friendly. They identify more and more areas in which products and services can be made more regenerative, ranging from – to name just a few – cosmetic tubes ("Paper tube") and fruit packaging ("GUAVA ECO-FRIENDLY CLAMSHELL") to pregnancy test package ("Eco Collector").
iF DESIGN AWARD 2021 GOLD-WINNING DESIGNS 2021
Designing sustainable packaging isn’t just about using eco-friendly materials, it’s also about creative aesthetics that get people thinking and talking about environmental issue. The gold award-winning design "00:00" is an inventive packaging design that offers delicious ice cream – and draws attention to melting glaciers at the same time. Other green designs feature sustainable materials such as "PuDao", packaging boxes using cardboard and linen, and "SOILABLE"'s wooden stirrers. Reusable and refillable packaging play an equally essential role in reducing waste: The recyclable "Bubble Tree Refillable Bubble System" features a future-oriented yet playful and practical design, as does the wine gift bag "Music wINNOry [Winery]".
What all green packagings have in common is the designers’ desire to make the world a better place. Designing for responsible consumption has reached a new level of commitment and will hopefully inspire even more collaborations between industry, government, start-up companies and designers.