The Future is Circular, not linear.

This is the time of year, when I gather the latest books for the courses I need to develop this forthcoming year. A business school in Nantes recently asked me to up-date my course from Linear Packaging to Circular Packaging. What better book to buy than the one above.

I have been running a course at this Business school for the last 5 years in Packaging Design. It’s a 5 session short course, so really an Introduction, but this year I’m teaming up with an expert in the Circular Economy to re-vitalise this course and make it more pertinent to today’s enlightened retailers and of course, students, who will become marketing experts in their future businesses.

So, what does Circular packaging mean?

In a circular world, bottles will become objects of desire. We will not want to throw them away, so they will not be wasteful.

The Emperor’s new clothes. Without plastic packaging, a new story has to be told, in a new way.
Comme Avant uses a lot less packaging than other beauty companies, so their brand image and brandstory is key to being recognised, as well as the materials they use.

Circularity focuses a lot of systems and with this comes new innovations in material suppliers. Think about ready meals, here, poplar may be more popular than plastic.

The French family-run group Fleury Michon from the Vendée reduced the volume of plastic in its new range of individual cooked meals by 80% by choosing trays made from Poplar trees. Poplar is not a new material, Camembert boxes have been made from poplar for many, many years.

Sticking to a sticker mentality, rather than printing more colour on your pack, is also a good way to cut out excess printing and helps in the recycling process.

Not only did Veuve Clicquot think about materials – its new eco packaging is made from discarded grape skins (which makes total sense in a circular approach) and recycled waste. But, it’s renowned brand yellow was added to a one colour printed pack by a simple sticker; Therefore eliminating the pack being printed in 2 colours instead of 1.

Start a dispenser war! Many retailers are now offering bulk, raw products, rather than the packaged variety. But you have to remember to take your own container with you to be an ultra-circular consumer. Here’s Waitrose’s new packaging-free store, called UNPACKED.

Unpacked, Waitrose”s first packaging-free supermarket in the UK.
And check out this great concept by Alagramo to create a solution to poverty tax, where poorer households can only afford smaller packs of certain products Alagramo helps them buy just that, so that they can afford their weekly shopping.

And some packs can just disappear? Stella McCartney, the luxury eco brand, decided a few years ago to send out her Fashion Week invitations on compostable materials, that they could literally disappear.

the invitation also came with a Stella McCartney’s TIPA zipper bag with a stylish catchy message and half-transparent, half-metallic design.

Finally, Carlsberg”s secondary packaging snap-pack also saved a lot of plastic usually used on ring-pull cans. Now the cans just snap together. The plastic rings were replaced with recyclable glue.

The snap pack will reduce the amount of plastic used in the Carlsberg traditional multi-packs by 76 %. This will lead to a reduction of 1200 tons (equivalent to 60 millions plastic bags) of plastic each year, according to Carlsberg’s estimates.

So, I hope this gives you a taster (pardon the pun) of some things you can try. I’m going to be reading some more to really understand the circular systems behind all of these production processes now. I’ll let you know more when I’ve finished reading.

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