Big names go green with a variety of innovative packaging ideas
Electronics makers and fashion houses are aiming to go green with eco-friendly packaging that can be repurposed easily and by using more sustainable materials.
Samsung Electronics is using eco-friendly packaging for all of its 2021-released products. The packaging, made of corrugated cardboard, has a matrix of dots printed on the outside so customers can easily cut the boxes to upcycle them. The company provides instruction manuals for making a variety of useful and interesting items, including pet houses, mini tables and magazine racks.
The eco-packaging was offered by the electronics maker’s Lifestyle TV products last year, but now comes with its computer monitors, speakers, vacuums and other products.
Samsung Electronics held an “Eco Challenge” between June 4 and July 31, in which customers uploaded photos of their own eco-friendly package creations on social media.
“Even though it’s a pet ramp made of cardboard boxes, it’s nice, sturdy and even good for the environment,” said Cha Song-yeon, a customer who participated in the Eco Challenge. “I want to try making another one.”
The creative takes on upcycling spread on social media, showcasing the company's green initiative.
“A marketing buzz occurs when customers upcycle and recycle product packages in unique ways,” said Lee Eun-hee, a professor teaching consumer studies at Inha University. “Companies can achieve an image that they’re leading the transition to going green.”
Samsung Electronics expects its upcycling packaging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10,000 tons annually, as 25 million televisions are sold by the electronics maker a year.
LG Electronics is taking a similar but different approach, upcycling their packages specifically for animals.
The company’s installation engineers take back cardboard boxes after installing appliances, and the boxes are repurposed into toys for tigers, chimpanzees and bears at the Seoul Grand Park. Approximately 400 boxes will be donated annually.
Buffer packaging that goes into LG's sound bars and some of the air conditioners are made of recycled paper and corrugated cardboard. Although the recycled cushioning material is only used for some of its products, LG Electronics plans to expand the use of recycled buffers to cover all air conditioners and outdoor unit products in the future.
Starting in June, Sony has been sending out its newest wireless earphones in a box made of what the company calls “original blended material.” The packages are sustainable, made of bamboo and sugar cane fiber and recycled paper.
The company also changed the packaging for its earphones from having a see-through plastic panel covering half of the box to be entirely paper, making it easy to recycle.
“We were able to reduce plastic usage per earphone box from 96 percent to less than 5 percent,” said a spokesperson for Sony. “We plan to use more eco-friendly materials for packaging of our to-be-released products.”
Fashion houses are also trying to go green. Extravagant packaging is part of the luxurious customer experience provided by high-end brands, and they're changing their packaging into sustainable and easy-to-recycle materials.
Louis Vuitton’s Charlie, a sneaker to be released November, is the brand’s take on eco-conscious fashion. The shoe is 90 percent made of recycled and bio-sourced materials, such as recycled rubber, and the shoe box is made of recycled cardboard. A wood-based fiber handle is attached to the shoe box, allowing it to function as a bag.
All of its paper wraps are made of Tencel, a sustainable fiber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, and its dust bags are made of 100 percent cotton instead of polyester.
“Our plan is to entirely eliminate the usage of single-use plastic by 2030,” said a spokesperson for Louis Vuitton.
Gucci has been using sustainably managed wood pulp compound for its gift wraps, product boxes and paper bags since November last year. Its dust bags and suit carriers are made of regenerated cotton and recycled polyester. The paper bags are not laminated, so they can be easily recycled.
“On top of being able to show off one’s wealth by buying luxury goods and premium home appliances, people get more satisfaction by knowing they’re recycling and upcycling packages, partaking in conscious buying,” said Professor Lee.
Lee further added that it’s an efficient business method that target young consumers.
“For the companies, they can be seen as a brand that creates a certain lifestyle, rather than being merely perceived as company that just sells a product.” said Lee.
BY KIM KYUNG-JIN, LEE TAE-HEE [email@example.com]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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