The Waste and Resources Action Programme is set to unveil some thought-provoking design guidance, in the form of a bespoke design prototype, illustrating how to minimise packaging waste. The move comes as part of its crusade to increase recycled content.
The guidance prototype, which is being created in-house in February, following collaboration with design consultancies and retailers, will be showcased at interactive workshop events, alongside other examples of good practice.
This will give the design community the chance to offer feedback on environmentally friendly packaging examples. The guidance will be available on-line at www.wrap.org.uk from April.
Wrap’s work with the retail and design sector lies at the heart of its activities on waste minimisation. The organisation aims to reduce packaging, increase its recycled content and tackle the problem of food waste.
Julia Falcon, project manager for Wrap, says, ‘The prototype will promote how to construct packaging that can be re-used and recycled. Any of the designers and brands will be able to liaise with each other about product packaging. The design community plays a major part and we are working with a number of contacts.
‘We are very conscious that we need to make things easy to access. For the design community, the clients they are dealing with have already decided to make something happen, so they should all be going in the right direction,’ she adds.
In addition, proposals from consultancies, which applied for the organisation’s £3.7m funding to create designs that either reduce packaging or cut back on food waste, are currently being processed and will be unveiled in the next couple of months. The funding was left over from an £8m pot, which formed part of Wrap’s waste minimisation innovation fund, set up to stimulate environmentally friendly product initiatives.
As the creators of packaging, designers are in a very important position. They are the link between the consumer and the client, and have a great need for understanding trends. The guidelines will go some way to enabling them to gather more knowledge on environmentally friendly options.
Jon Davies, managing director of Holmes & Marchant, believes that a design consultancy’s responsibility is to invest in educating designers, to keep up to speed with relevant innovations and guide clients with commercial and brand arguments.
He says, ‘Environmental responsibility is a trend that will become mandatory for consumers and therefore brands too. Designers must truly understand the life cycle of a pack from production to disposal. The environmental impact may be reduced by a simple choice of material or a slight adjustment in footprint in delivering a brilliant pallet efficiently.’
‘The smart designers will couple this learning with their brand understanding and use it to create packaging that gives a brand more difference. What have held the environmental bandwagon back for many years are the commercial implications, the increase in cost of goods and its impact on retail price and profit margins. We are slowly transcending these issues – consumers are now happier to pay slightly more for the responsible, ethical brands, as the benefit is now much clearer,’ Davies adds.
WASTE AND RESOURCES ACTION PROGRAMME
The workshops on design guidance will take place in the following cities/
• London on 14 February
• Manchester on 20 February
• Glasgow on 28 February
For further information, Wrap can be contacted on 0808 100 2040