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How Important is Packaging?

How Important is Packaging?

Food packaging is a contentious subject — whether we are working to promote awareness that some of it contains chemicals or that it should be recyclable, there are always improvements that can be made.

An artistic take on packaging for vegetables, the food that sometimes comes in plastic and sometimes comes as naked as the day it was born, caught my eye and brings up a question: Is it a good thing to create biodegradable packaging that contains seeds? I’ll admit, I was thrilled when a friend handed out seeds for their wedding favors- it seemed very, very cool. But did I plant them? Um, no. I didn’t.

The artist’s work is getting a hard time in the comments of Lovely Package, where his “Student Work” is displayed. The comments are largely pointing to the fact that many people don’t buy vegetables with packaging on them at all, and that we shouldn’t put time into it beautifying packaging, instead putting it toward not having packaging.

So what was the artist thinking, making biodegradable packaging with seeds in it?

“My initial intension was to inspire people to start gardening and reduce unnecessary waste by looking at alternative processes and materials. Having researched gardening and environmental issues I felt I somehow needed to bridge these two subjects. Having noticed just how unnecessary supermarket fruit and vegetable packaging has become I decided I would focus my attention on that. Not only is this a growing problem but it bridged the gap between gardening and environmental issues.

It brought the question: How can I inspire people to start growing fruit and vegetables at home? Having undertaken various questionnaires and surveys I noticed a very high percentage of people buy their fruit and vegetables from supermarkets. This gave me the idea to show people just how simple it is to grow their own food, using packaging as a method of communication.” — Ben Huttly via PSFK

Packaging as a means of artistic communication. I must admit, I like it.

What do you think? Is it a plus to innovate with the packaging of vegetables and give it a message or should we focus on eliminating packaging at all costs?

Related:
15 Ways to Reduce Food Packaging
Can Mushrooms Replace Packing Peanuts?

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Food, Green, Make a Difference, , , , ,

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Scott James

Scott James is a new media storyteller living and working in San Francisco. He writes, edits and manages projects in the green and social media spaces. In his free time you'll find him hunting down good coffee, camping along the coast, and spending time with his wife and their dog. You can read more of what he's thinking about on his blog.

215 comments

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10:54AM PST on Jan 31, 2013

Thank you.

3:00PM PDT on Jul 16, 2012

ty

1:52AM PDT on Jul 16, 2012

Thank you

12:19AM PST on Feb 27, 2012

thanks for the article

12:39PM PDT on Apr 7, 2011

noted

6:54PM PDT on Mar 19, 2011

"elliminate packaging at all costs?"

That is the rub. The first order of packaging is to protect the product from the time it is made or harvested until it gets used by the customer, from storage and shipping. In commercial situations, this is the ony reason for packaging. In cunsumer settings, packaging takes on additional concerns such as advertising and instructions (i.e. planting insturctions for seeds, warnings, etc).

Packaging is fairly expensive, doesn't add true value to the product and, therefore, companies really don't like to use more packaging than what is necessary, especially in commercial settings. In consumer settings, if the cost of packaging is more than offsetted by greater net profits from it's attractiveness then the packaging gets decorated. There is also consumer handling and safety concerns that even plain label packaging must take into account.

I don't think we can ever get away from all packaging but there's more that can be more done to make all of it reusable and recyclable.

1:11AM PST on Mar 13, 2011

Noted. Thanks.

12:08AM PST on Mar 2, 2011

the less the better

12:20PM PST on Feb 27, 2011

All packaging should be either biodegradable or recyclable.

4:17AM PST on Feb 26, 2011

The companys selling products are a package wasters. I got 1000 times packages( for example Amazon) where the box was like 10x so big as the product I bought. Same is for food. most of food products could have smaller packages or could be not packed at all.

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