Innovations in Package Design: Edible & (truly) Biodegradable Plastic Alternatives
I've always had a weakness for package design—the whole process fascinates me. Every bag, carton, and box is a piece of art in a certain sense: it was thoughtfully designed by someone (or a group of someones), who paid minute attention to all the details necessary to protect and contain the product inside, as well as to catch our eye and entice us to purchase it.
But since starting down the path towards a Zero Waste lifestyle, I find myself paying more attention to the materials used in the package than to the graphic renderings on the label or the shape of the container.
Most days, I can't help but notice the overwhelming amount of plastic that encircles the things we buy. During particularly pessimistic grocery store visits, my imagination flashes forward to the interminable future that awaits the multicolored panoply once each piece makes its way to the landfill, or the ocean, or the dank alley behind my building.
And then, I put the bag of frozen strawberries into my cart, because smoothies are a main food group in my diet. Sigh.
Anyway. While I work on getting my zero-waste act together, there are scientists and good samaritans working on viable replacements for plastic packaging that achieve all of the benefits of plastic packaging (i.e. being lightweight, inexpensive, and sanitary), and improve upon its less-noble characteristics.
To stoke the flames of our collective optimism, here are a few of the products that have crossed my desk lately: