Packaging as a lever for change
The reflection on this project starts (in 2009) with this: we are in a period of great change, the general awareness of the economic/ecological world (infinite growth in our finite world is unsustainable) is underway and this results in a significant change in the demand.
The industry is adapting its bid accordingly, but it is still scarce, its pace slow or is sometimes just a «green-washing», and no one benefits of this inertia.
My goal is to try to meet these new expectations. Hoping to influence the whole. Is not improving the world the designer’s objective ? What can I do at my level ?
What caught my eye first was the waste problem. But when I attended a conference of the CNIID (National Center for Independent Information on Waste), I realized one thing: once again we tend to adress symptoms but we neglect the problem that is at the origin.
Instead of blaming the consumer, telling him to buy better, and recycle better -he must be educated, but-what about going straight to the source of the problem ?
That is before recycling or selling packaging: at is designing stage. Trying to anticipate the consequences. That is the role of the designer.
Today it’s an unescapable reality: every product come with a package or is even over-packeded...
But the stakes are not only economic or material, they are also social, and even about health. Packaging is at the heart of our habits, society and its mutations. Pakaging and society are influencing each other.
It’s still a current major problem, therefore it could be a powerful level in taking support on the recent changes (consumers’ awarness, laws, growing material cost, and so on...) Now has come the time to reconsider the packaging paradigm.
The ideal way
After exploring many ideas, from very specific small improvement of existing products, feasible now. Or even pursuing some utopian ideas... I stepped back and reconsidered the whole elements.
Amongst all my ideas, no one met the ambition I wanted to achieve in terms of impact.
Yet I felt that the solution was not far away. Finally, thinking back about what Ezio Manzini said in a lecture about designing for social innovation and sustainability, the solution began to emerge.
As he said: «the next economy is not an utopie, it is here today, growing in the framework of the old economy. What we have to do is to recognize it, and to chose what we want to do».
Regarding the packaging, this ideal model is when we buy things in bulk. Wich means already a minimum amount of package !
But it is still a disposable package... So I will try to «improve the signal, be an agent of change», and design a replacement of the single use bag.
A reusable packaging to buy food in bulk, washable, conveniant for both the retailer and the customer, both at the store and at home.
The stakes of this type of buying habits are huge: it supports local production, low production of wastes, and without this packaging we can afford better food at lower prices.
It’s a complex problem, and the solution seems quite simple, but simplicity is the most difficult goal to achieve.