If you're talking about ecodesign, you necessarily think life cycle – a design approach that optimizes packaging and printed matter.
Your Eco Design Journey
Packaging optimization: An approach that results in savings, innovation and improved environmental performance.
The life cycle approach is a winning strategy to determine at what stages of a life cycle to focus on improvements.
The life cycle approach highlights the steps where there are the greatest environmental impacts. It helps to prioritize actions to be taken while avoiding simply displacing impacts to another stage of the life cycle. This approach also allows for comparing several packaged product systems that have the same function.
Procurement - Resources -Processes and technologies used to harvest, extract and transform raw materials. In the case of food resources, such needs as water and energy, as well as the use of fertilizers and pesticides, among other things, must be considered.
Design - Production -Processes and technologies used to manufacture, assemble and condition the packaging item (filling the packaging item with the product). In the case of a container for liquids, this step includes blowing the bottle into shape, filling, labelling, sealing, etc.
Distribution -Steps in warehousing, handling and transportation of packaged products. Distances, means of transportation used and sources of energy all need to be considered.
Use -Water and energy requirements, for product consumption, warehousing (e.g. refrigeration) or sorting (rinsing) before recycling.
End-of-life -Processes and technologies used to collect, sort and condition packaging and printed matter. The diagram on the left explains the relative contribution of a particular packaged product at each stage of its life cycle to its global environmental footprint. The initial situation (in grey) illustrates that the manufacturing stage should be prioritized (the greatest environmental impact of the packaged product’s life cycle). The results of the optimization initiative (in blue) illustrates how the greenhouse gas (GHG) assessment can be improved at each stage of the life cycle, except at initial raw materials procurement, where GHG emissions are slightly higher. However, the overall assessment of the packaged product is improved. What's important to remember is that each situation is unique. The point is to explore the best possible options and compromises to reach the desired goal: overall improvement of environmental performance.
Where do you begin?
The voluntary approach proposed on the OptimEco.ca portal allows for personalization of initiatives in order to take into account each company’s particular situation. The following 4 strategies constitute the key elements of an ecodesign initiative applied to product packaging.
Strategy 1: Adopt responsible procurement criteria
Rethinking packaging involves adding environmental requirements to traditional procurement criteria.
Strategy 2: Optimize design
Use the right quantity of materials to protect the product, but be sure to avoid over-packaging.
Strategy 3: Improve packaging end-of-life management
Minimize and even completely avoid end-of-life impacts.
Strategy 4: Communicate the approach
Proudly communicate your experience of the entire process, from initial design of the packaging item to consideration of its end-of-life.