Materials & Assembly

Eco-Friendly Packaging Wraps Products in Natural Designs

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Elizabeth M
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Re: Perishable Packaging
Elizabeth M   9/29/2014 6:20:33 AM
Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Greg. It's true that sometimes it just takes new thinking to spur major changes or improvements, even if the initial ideas don't solve the entire problem. I really especially think Tomorrow Machines is on to something.

Greg M. Jung
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Perishable Packaging
Greg M. Jung   9/27/2014 8:43:49 PM
I was encouraged by this article.  While I understand that this will not solve all of our waste problems, it brought some interesting ideas up for discussion.  I was intrigued by the idea that packaging doesn't have to last longer than the shelf life of the product.  This new way of thinking could create some innovations in the packaging arena.

Elizabeth M
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Elizabeth M   9/15/2014 3:46:28 AM
Thank you, bobjengr. It's good to know companies are thinking about this. I'm sure it's quite a daunting task to come up with the wrapping for products, especially small ones like the ones you mention. To come up with more eco-friendly designs is even more of a challenge, but good that people are considering them. Glad you enjoyed the article!

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bobjengr   9/14/2014 10:51:22 AM
Very very insightful Elizabeth.  

Several months ago I had the pleasure in visiting a company that produces candy mints; the type given as you leave a restaurant.  These are individually wrapped.  The high-speed packaging equipment was an absolute marvel to behold.  Thousands of individual mints being produced and wrapped per minute.  The machinery to accomplish this task was a mechanical engineer's dream.  In talking with the CFO, the company is very much aware of needing a substitute for the non-biodegradable wrapping now in use.  I mention this to indicate that companies in our country are very much aware of their responsibilities relative to insuring and preserving a clean environment.  Most of the work I have done over the years has been in the appliance industry where packaging is a huge cost to the consumer and produces tons of non-biodegradable material; i.e. cartooning, bands, shrink-wrap, etc etc.  The efforts to move in another direction are extremely valuable and long overdue.

Excellent post. 

Elizabeth M
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Re: I feel good
Elizabeth M   9/9/2014 5:20:52 AM
Thank you for the comment, Battar, and your book suggestion. I will check it out. Yes, I know there are a lot of myths out there about "biodegradeable" packaging and other types of rubbish. It's important to cut through the hype. Still, I think any efforts to make things that will end up in the trash more natural and less chemical are good ones.

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I feel good
Battar   9/4/2014 9:15:32 AM
This issue is more about the "feel good" factor and marketing an idea than actual environmental concerns. Decomposition of bio-degradable material relies on oxygen, and the vast majority of packaging material ends up buried in landfills where it gets about 2 weeks at most to degrade before the oxygen supply is cut off completely by layers of fresh garbage. You might like to read the book "Rubbish - the archeology of garbage" by William Rathje or "Garbage land" by Elizabeth Royte to learn a bit more about what really happens (or doesn't happen) to discarded biodegradable materials. 

Elizabeth M
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The future is now
Elizabeth M   9/3/2014 6:31:58 AM
I really enjoyed writing and researching this story and seeing all the ways that designers are finding to make food packaging more eco-friendly. The Swedish team especially has some truly innovative designs, taking cues from nature itself, which creates the most eco-friendly of all packaging systems. I think anything that can be done to reduce all the synthetic waste that's made because of our packaging systems is a very good thing.

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