Packaging as a product


It seems like everything has been invented. At least most of the things we use on a daily basis. When was the last time we were so blown out of the water by a product that the whole world actually changed? I’m talking, man on the moon, origin of the internet, kind of monumental moments.

Doesn’t seemed to be very progressive as of late. Sure, no one has reinvented the wheel, but we have Squatty Potties. Soooo, the industry seems to be moving in a life-altering direction, right? (That was extremely sarcastic in case anyone thought otherwise)

Anyways. I’ve seen a slow increase of packaging-centric products enter the market within the past year. A beer company in Florida created six-pack rings that can be eaten by marine life. Chiquita now has a sticker that can be used to track where that individual banana came from all over the globe. A wine company created augmented reality (AR) bottle labels that features characters speaking to you:

Now, clearly the fruit and alcohol markets have stepped up their games. But what’s next? We don’t know. However, packaging is increasingly a more integral part of why a product is actually purchased or not. As sustainability becomes more and more important – especially to young consumers – we see companies allocating extra time to their packaging, and not just the contents.

QR codes “died” a few years back, but with the fairly new iOS11 update for Apple products, users can simply snap a picture on their camera and pull up a QR code’s information. Before this update, you’d have to subject yourself to ad-infested apps that essentially took up space on your home screen for only a 2 minute usage every few months. So, with the ease-of-access modernized, these simple yet effective coding mechanisms could revolutionize the new-wave of packaging to come.

I’m not saying edible beer can rings are equivalent to Facebook or the Spork (very revolutionizing, guys). But with things like this, we could be heading into a whole new product sector – taking the packaging and making it its own product. Check out the new Loop startup that just announced its eco-friendly platform for 2019. Packaging no longer has to be purely disposable, wasteful, and obsolete. Now that’s pretty world-changing.

technology pitted against the environment

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Years ago, I was completely fascinated with the anime film, Spirited Away. If you’ve never heard of Studio Ghibli, I highly recommend you check out their work. I was encouraged to watch Princess Mononoke by a friend the other day (after divulging my love for the more famous sibling), and having 2 and a half hours of free time this weekend, I decided to take the plunge.

Spirited Away was a visual masterpiece. So I had extremely high hopes for this film. And honestly, Princess Mononoke was even better for me. I’ve mentioned before how I’m not a huge environmentalist. But, as a somewhat self-aware human being, I tend to fall into a category of worldly conscientiousness.

The film surrounds a protagonist that falls upon a world in which the industrious Iron Town is furiously pitted against the gods of the Forest. The heads of both sectors have their own thoughts in mind, almost completely unaware of the others peril, let alone well being (or intentions).

Iron Town represents human expansion, technology, and self-proclaimed dominance. The Forest represents land, nature, and the purist idea that humans are only there to destroy.

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Without getting too political, it seems in the current age of power-hungry individuals/organizations who only seek their own agendas, this movie is still a perfect illustration (no pun intended) of the world some 20 years later. The protagonist is seen fluctuating between the sides: he is completely neutral, and can see the negatives and positives of both industry and nature. He urges each side to truly see the other – encouraging conversation, peace, and coexistence. Each side is stubborn, as you can imagine.

And as a consumer, I often forget about the world, and my (inevitably negative) effects on it. When in nature, I tend to feel I’d be perfectly (naively) content living off the grid, away from humanity. The two are inherently poised against each other. And yet, the movie shows that, in the perfect system, we could be closer to a world in which, awareness and symbiosis could be achieved. Amazing how art can cut so deep, in the most beautiful way possible.

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