Materials & Assembly

Eco-Friendly Packaging Wraps Products in Natural Designs

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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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