Advances That Make Packaging Greener and More Efficient

Over the last few years, manufacturers and the packing and shipping companies that serve them have explored ways to make packaging leaner and greener with a more efficient use of materials. DuPont is one company that has attempted to develop even more influence on the way items are packaged through its annual DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation. The multinational corporation continues to recognize new positive trends that can drive societal change throughout the industry.

The 2013 top award honored the AidPod, developed by design firm pi global in the United Kingdom. The AidPod, which fits inside shipping crates between bottles of Coca-Cola, delivers vital medications to residents of Africa south of the Sahara. Born from an alliance with the nonprofit group ColaLife, the AidPod itself even serves as a self-contained measuring and dosage container. And using Coca-Cola’s existing delivery network over the continent results in highly effective distribution.

In 2012, DuPont presented its top packaging honor to Curwood, Inc., for its FreshCase Packaging for Fresh Red Meats. The innovative packaging keeps fresh meats from spoiling during delivery. And through using a natural proprietary additive to coat the inside of the package, the company ensured that the meat would retain its color appeal when seen through the clear packaging.

Among the practices that place the computer company Dell in the front ranks of innovative packagers is its use of bamboo inserts to cushion its products in transit. In 2009, Dell became the first company to explore bamboo, a sustainable product, as a cushioning material. Dell is also exploring the use of mushroom spawn as a compostable replacement for Styrofoam.

Today, a number of companies continue to investigate materials, even at the nanotechnology level, that can make packaging cheaper and more sustainable while maintaining safety and convenience standards.