Its all a load of rubbish...

 
Reuse of orange juice cartons - strong and waterproof - to post a hangUp skate

Reuse of orange juice cartons - strong and waterproof - to post a hangUp skate

 

Packaging is an interesting thing.  

No really it is.

I guess I am on a bit of a journey; as I am now making 'product' I end up having to produce packaging for it, to look good and to arrive undamaged to the buyer.

It worries me that every two weeks the recycling wheelie bin outside our house is full with discarded packaging, leaflets, catalogues and the odd magazine.

I am trying to ween myself off of printed media, contacting businesses to request that they stop sending me catalogues and frankly now I get a broader range of views and news from the internet than paying for a politically biased newspaper.  I gave up on design magazines a couple of years ago and instead check into design blogs that give me a broader range of ideas on a daily basis.

 
 

With the increased use of the internet also comes a greater ease of purchasing from companies from anywhere in the world, including mine, and so there must have been an explosion in cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, labels, plastic bags and a plethora of similar paraphernalia.

So here is the rub.

I produce 'product' that requires packaging, though I am increasingly worried about the quantity of waste that is being thrown aware, mostly recycled, though for every item that requires recycling also requires an additional amount of embodied energy to transport and reprocess.

For any of you who have bought any of my hangUp hooks you will have seen that I try to reuse packaging material.  By re-purposing materials they have a second life and no additional resource or recycling is needed.  And if the packaging is second hand then it helps keep the down the costs of the product.

Packaging is undoubtedly important for more reasons than just protecting the item, it helps 'sale' an item, makes it stand out on a shelf, gives the user a better feeling about the product......

I have played around with a couple of packaging ideas for the hangUp hooks with a nice little oragami package for holding the fixings, to 'enveloping' the hangUp's in off cuts of building materials.

Prototype hangUp guitar + prototype 'envelope' wrapping

Prototype hangUp guitar + prototype 'envelope' wrapping

Interesting ideas and I do enjoy the design process of producing interesting packaging, though recently I have posted out a few orders and I decided that I needed to reduce this down further.  

Did I need to add additional 'waste' material to the product, wrapping that would only be discarded by the purchaser.  I decided that in reality it didn't make sense and I chose to wrap them instead in used bubble wrap that does its job well and plop the fixings into used plastic click lock bags with a little pricklysauce label to cover the previous companies logo. 

 
Reused plastic bags

Reused plastic bags

reused bubble wrap and shoe box

reused bubble wrap and shoe box

 

They have all been boxed up in an old shoe box with a label explaining the reasons for reuse and a liberal amount of logos, that ultimately will be seen by postal workers.  

Who knows maybe I will start getting a slew of orders from posties from around the country!

Reuse is better than recycling

Reuse is better than recycling

Have I gone too far?  I don't think so.

As a small business the volume of packaging required isn't great and so maybe it is easier for pricklysauce to repurpose our 'throw away' materials, though ultimately I am looking to see how we can make packaging useful, giving it the potential of a second life, in the way that Nutella has designed its glass jars to be usable as drinking glasses.

I hope that any one who spends their hard earned money on a pricklysauce product that has been well designed and made will be excited by the product.  The packaging is just that, packaging.