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The brief was to provide an environmentally healthy solution to the Edward Bulmer: Pots of Paint company, in place of their current packaging model. At the time of the brief, Pots of Paint used a gamut of unsustaining materials, such as plastics and steel. Steel is a great material, created to last, thus provided a sufficient container. The downfall however is that after use, it spends large amounts of energy for the recycling process to reconfigure its form; this being the more fortunate scenario, as many used paint containers will travel to landfill. The briefing was ensued with a myriad of research collections, including findings from a visit to the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales. My packaging solution would come in the form of a practical design, with materials that are 100% disposable in an environmentally friendly fashion. The paint is stored inside a bladder made from #4 LDPE, an easily domestically-recyclable plastic, which is manufactured using 70% less plastic than a plastic bottle of the same volume. It is perfectly practical for containing heavy liquids, and will also not corrode from any chemical reactions that may come from the paint; as #4 LDPE is what is used in industrial anti-corrosive work surfaces.

The labels of the containers I proposed should be printed using Soy inks, as conventional inks are petroleum based, which is a precious finite resource that is currently being exploited. To steer away from contributing to the depletion of the Earths crude oil supply, we should try and use substitute renewable resources, such as Soy ink. An added bonus of these inks is that they do not need as much energy to remove from the paper when recycled, saving more fuelling energy of the machines at the recycle plant. I added an additional label to describe and display the colour of the paint inside, as I discovered many customers found that they had no way of deciding on a colour without opening the container, which of course then makes the paint non-returnable. I designed this to look like a dictionary description, which keeps to the formality of the Pots of Paint brand.

The most wasteful thing that can happen, is for the paint to get damaged in transit, as it is then no good to the customer, and if it is spilled it is worthless for recycling into a new container for resale. It is also a wasted journey as a new shipment must be sent out, costing more money for a driver and fuel, whilst also causing more pollution from vehicle exhaust, and using more petroleum. This is why protecting the product is one of the most important issues that must be addressed. My solution is that the containers will be held in suspension away from the sides of the box using protective mushroom packaging moulds, which will encase the paint containers. Mushroom material is made from Mycelium (mushroom roots) and is similar to it’s toxic comparison, Styrofoam. It has all the benefits of Styrofoam, being just as cushioning, solid, lightweight and also having options such as fire retardant etc. Mushroom material is the perfect solution for protecting heavy goods because it is 100% compostable, meaning it is compatible with Earth.

My packaging solution is practical, and is also completely compostable and recyclable meaning that 100% of the package can be easily disposed of in an eco-friendly way, and so should not be taken to landfill. It is also made largely from recycled materials and in such ways that use small amounts of energy to manufacture. The materials are easily obtainable locally and come from sustainable and reliable resources.

Designed by Matthew Blick

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