Capital expenditure is one of the main restrictions to green packaging innovation. Mostly designers are tied to the possibilities of the existing production lines. The level of the state-of-the-art of the production setup will affect the greenness of any product. And above this, production lines tend to be a once-in-a-decade expenditure, and are outside designers’ ability to change. It’s obvious that packaging design has to be within the production line capabilities, which might restrict the more creative designers.
Without these production restrictions however and free of any corporate briefing, designers can sometimes come up with the most interesting packaging constructions, proving the fact that green design is real design.
Having the reputation of being one of the big polluters, many a packaging designer has tried to create a green alternative for the milk cartons of Tetra Pak. Whether they will hit the store shelves is totally another question. Look at some examples and imagine them standing in front of the consumer who spends 4 seconds for his decision to buy.
Gotta Moo Milk Package
Gotta Moo’s package focuses on the most eco-friendly method for milk packaging. This greener milk packaging solution will be made out of Sugarcane Bagasse moulded pulp paper, coated inside with sugarcane lignin and printed with vegetable based inks, all food safe materials. Bagasse is an annually renewable plant resource and is compostable and recyclable.
Gotta Moo is the graduation work from Narani Kannan, from the Ontario College of Art & Design. Her research and design project dictated to come up with a friendlier milk packaging and an innovative carton design solution, that would stay away from the use of virgin wood papers, plastics and plastic coated paper products as much as possible. The design had to have maximum shelf impact.
The result is a milk packaging made from renewable biomass (bagasse) and incorporates fresh bold and lucid colours and also maintains the current colour palette for milk flavours. Each carton has large readable text, which describes milk as an enjoyable nutritious beverage, but also educates consumers about its package and how it benefits their health and the environment.
Bagasse is the fibrous residue remaining after sugarcane stalks are crushed to extract their juice. It is seen as a waste product and incinerated, recuperating energy for the sugar mill. Making a milk package out of residual sugarcane fibre adds value to the package, as it is environmentally friendly. This green solution can be seen as an alternative to plastic bottles and virgin wood based, paper laminated cartons, replacing it with a new alternative sugarcane lignin coating.
This material can stand temperatures up to 190°F (88°C), is microwavable and freezer safe and extremely hygienic, and will be sterilized as it is exposed to high temperatures during the moulding process. Sugarcane Bagasse is one of the most plentiful biomass residues of the cane sugar production process. For every ton of refined sugar produced, there are two tons of bagasse produced as well. Bagasse is extremely light weight and has excellent performance characteristics.
RawEdges Milk Containers
Israeli-born Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay set up their London-based design studio Raw Edges after graduating from London’s Royal College of Art.
They designed three different milk cartons which distinguish between the rates of fat in the milk by using form rather then colour. The form of the milk cartons reflects in a way on the milk’s texture and smoothness, as they are available in three shades of colours, while the size of opening depends on the type of milk (whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed).
The elegant design is pointing to the delicacy of the product. The two back folds are used as the carton’s handle, while the two in the front function as the spout.
Their work is playful and imaginative yet functional.
It’s still in design stage, so any material specification is not given. But it is feasible that the same material as a TetraPak or a SIG Combibloc can be used.
Feez from France
Although no information is available, this design is still worth to look at. The designers of Feez, the French design bureau HvingtQuatre haven’t even their website operative, let alone you can get some information from them. Nothing can be said of this design, except that they are Tetra Pak style cartons in a modern design.
That’s all I can say about it.
There is one more design for milk eco-bottles I like to describe. That’s Andy Mandel’s. This German designer created not only an eco-bottle for milk but extended it to a full (supply chain) system. Beautiful to see. In a next article, coming up soon. Stay tuned.