Compostable Food Packaging by 2010?
My friend Colleen just shared this link with me. Let me just say that SunChips has got its act together. In 2010 they plan on introducing the first compostable chip bag. I knew it was coming… but so soon and with such big companies?
“These innovative bags are designed to fully decompose in about 14 weeks when placed in a hot, active compost bin or pile…So you eat the chips. The earth eats the bag. And we all live in a cleaner world”.
You may be thinking…
1) What are the bags made out of? Answer: Journey for a Better Bag
2) How do they work? How are they sustainable? Answer: SunChips Behind the Scenes
2) What in the world is hot, active compost? Answer: Compost in Your Backyard
SunChips actually answers all these questions! I can’t express how frustrating it is when companies claim their products are “green” and then never explain why or how or what material. They think saying “AND product X is green so it is good for the environment” is enough information to placate people. (Maybe it is? okay that issue is a different post altogether).
Designers listen up! When you design a product and have planned out its afterlife and how it should be used and disposed of.. inform the consumers! Everyday recyclables are thrown in the trash because people are (a) lazy or (b) do not know that they are supposed to be recycling it. Communicate in someway what someone should do with an expired product. After all, you are enabling them with your design.. how are they supposed to know what you want them to do? A lot of the packaging I have left over from frozen goods and other foods without recycling labels… I have no idea what to do with. I’m not suggesting every product comes with an extra long manual because who actually reads those? Maybe new recyclable-phrases can be incorporated into packaging. Phrases like “After use, place in compost”. Or provide the user with alternatives, “For more information about re-using this bottle, visit website X”. Consumers can’t read minds; it is our job to teach them.
The way SunChips presented their new developments is so upfront and clear. I love it! They really explain themselves in a thorough way. It is like they actually want the consumer to understand and enjoy their product (what a concept). Props to Frito Lay. Check out their website for other interesting sustainable projects too.
What do other designers think?
1) Have you thought about how you want a user to dispose of your projects/products?
2) How did you want to educate them (manual, label, intuition…)
3) Is this even important to designers? Is it a designer’s job?