What’s the Deal with Excess Packaging?
From all the creative research I have done over the years, people tend to be visual creatures by nature. As consumers, we are drawn to items that are fun, well designed and colourful. We like new, modern and unique. We want something that stands out from the rest. By having something different, we are therefore different. And speaking from an artistic consumer point of view and as a professional marketer, I understand this.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
A good design should always reflect the creativity of the product itself, the personality of the company and of course have appealing packaging. Being a graphic designer, the needs of all of this make complete sense. You want your company/product to stand out in the world. This is just how business works. In order to get ahead you must have or come up with something that differs from what is already available. However, my beef is not with package design nor does it have to do with product packaging at all. I have a HUGE beef with the way packaging is delivered to our homes.
As most of you who know me already know I am a pretty much a huge tree hugger. I don’t physically go around hugging trees of course, ha-ha! But I care about the environment … A LOT! I will stop at no end to do my part and make sure that those around me follow suit. But when it comes to ordering something online and the day it gets delivered, my heart sinks.
What is with these giant boxes for a pad of paper or a 3-inch item? It’s insane! I am sure from the company’s perspective they have branding in place with rules to follow and are just making sure your order gets to it’s destination safely. But in my opinion (and I am sure that many of you feel the same), that can be accomplished in many other forms. If you as the company are shipping me a pad of paper for my business, you do not need to place it into a box the size of a mini fridge with oodles of foam peanuts or bubble wrap. Trust me, the paper will get here safely. You can just place it in an appropriate size box with an appropriate amount of safety wrap. It will honestly be fine.
Our jobs as human beings is to protect the world we live in. If we don’t, who knows what is going to happen? And to do so, I feel that we should do our very best to make an effort in reducing waste. Keep in mind, this is my personal opinion. Not all of you will agree with me and that is okay.
A good example of “making an effort” occurred in 2003 when Britain created regulations for minimal packaging as a requirement for all company’s in their country. Particularly with items that cannot be recycled and go right into the landfill. As long as it fit the requirements for product safety, hygiene and consumer acceptance the company was given a green light. This occurrence set of a nationwide experiment in rethinking how familiar products are sold. To add to my excitement on this requirement, Britain also created a charity called “Waste Watch”, which advises holiday shoppers to avoid good that involve unnecessary packaging, which has been recently estimated at over one billion Christmas cards and 32+ billion square miles of wrapping paper each year. This is an over abundance and once again in my opinion, not what the holidays are all about.
To go back to the topic of packaging …
Granted, across the world there are some companies who have been recently stepping up their game on reducing packaging (for delivery and in-store). My hope is that this trend continues and at a quicker rate as our landfills are reaching their limits. Where do we go from there and why can’t we be more like Britain?
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