Four students of the Muenster School of Design have created a cigarette packet that contains a compartment for butts. (Photo: J. Zerr, E. Freymüller, M. Hesse, F. Vennemeyer)
The next generation is ready for take-off
The packaging industry mostly agrees that the change towards a real circular economy can only be accomplished by avoiding waste, designing packaging to be recycled, using recycled materials and a great deal more reuse. Universities and universities of applied sciences are also contributing ideas, where young up-and-coming designers are perfecting their future-ready, and often prize-winning, solutions. Take the following projects, for example.
Less cigarette butt litter
In a semester project at the MSD Muenster School of Design, four students grappled with the problem of carelessly flicked away cigarette butts and developed a neat solution to combat the spread of litter. This was honoured with the German Packaging Award in the category of young talent last year. Madeline Hesse, Elisabeth Freymüller, Jonas Zerr and Frederic Vennemeyer wanted "Input" to begin establishing eco-friendly standards within the cigarette industry. To achieve this, the design students added a pull-out compartment to a cigarette packet, where cigarette butts can be kept until they can be properly disposed of.
The two-piece cardboard box is easy to pull apart, and cigarette butts can simply be put inside the appearing circular opening. To prevent unpleasant odours, the compartment could also be coated with wax on the inside. "Input" is also suitable for established sales systems at filling stations, kiosks and inside vending machines. In this manner, all mandatory standards are complied with and the measurements are adjusted to those of regular cigarette packets. Only by using the feature does the packet temporarily expand.
The cigarette packet "Input" has an additional compartment for cigarette butts. Photo: J. Zerr, E. Freymüller, M. Hesse, F. Vennemeyer
If you frequently move house, you know the problem: You only want to fill a few holes in the wall, but you have to buy an entire sack of putty. The future designers Kim Bujak, Giulia La Spina and Suh-Kyung Choi developed "Fillær", a sustainable all-in-one solution inside disposable cardboard packaging, in their packaging course at the Muenster School of Design. The product is geared towards people who only need a small amount of putty for small repair jobs.
Easy-to-use cardboard box for enough putty to fill ten drill holes. Photo: Giulia La Spina/Kim Bujak/Suh-Khubg Choi
The packet contains 330 g of putty – enough to fill ten drilled holes or smaller cracks. The lid transforms into a useful spatula with one slanted edge to easily scrape off the putty. The cardboard packet itself can be transformed into a bowl-shaped container with an ergonomic handle, in which the dry putty is mixed with water. The cardboard is sturdy, with a thickness of 300 g/m², does not need plastic or other coatings, and can be recycled with other waste paper in an eco-friendly way. All the user information is available in the form of easy-to-understand pictograms.
Making sure the frame hangs properly
Also at the Muenster School of Design, design students Kristina Scheldt and Farina Nagel developed the protective packaging "Frame it" for picture frames. It is made completely out of cardboard and dispenses with the usual plastic foil. This earned the packaging the Pro Carton Young Designers Award.
After unpacking and removal of the edge protectors, what is left acts as a stencil shape that allows you to try out several positions of the new frame on the wall, without having to mark them. The stencil is held in place by easy-to-remove gentle glue pads. Once you have found the desired position, the stencil also helps you to hammer in the nail in the right place. If you want to hang up several frames at the same distance from each other, the ruler integrated into the packaging is also very useful. Detailed information about the material, frame size and usage is found on the back of the packaging in the form of self-explanatory pictograms.
The protective packaging for the picture frame is made completely out of cardboard. Photo: Farina Nagel
Sustainable packaging material from husks
As a master's student at the Stuttgart Hochschule der Medien, Lisa Scherer developed an organic packaging material from grain husks which could replace expanded polystyrene (EPS). The novel material is made from husks, which grain processing used to dispose of as an unused waste material. The naturally hollow structure of husks gives the novel material good insulating and shock absorbing properties. Using organic glues, it can be shaped as desired and is completely harmless to the environment. The grain husks, usually used as bedding for animals or simply burned, are sourced by the designer from regional mills. After use, the sustainable packaging can simply be discarded in the organic waste bin or on the compost heap at home.
Lisa Scherer, with her sister Sophia Scherer and their friends Nils Bachmann and Henning Tschunt, has founded the start-up company Proservation. For further development of the material, the quartet has received an Exist founders' stipend, which they want to use to make their product ready for the market.
The naturally hollow structure of husks gives them good insulating and shock absorbing properties. Photo: Proservation