A Masters Thesis Project by Pratt Institute student Aaron Mickelson.
Every year, we throw away a ton of packaging waste (actually, over 70 million tons). It makes up the single largest percentage of trash in our landfills (beating out industrial waste, electronics, food… everything). Figures released by the EPA indicate this problem is getting worse every year.
As a package designer (and grad student—meaning I know everything and can solve every problem, naturally), I was concerned about where this trend is going. Of course, many talented designers working in the field have made great efforts over the past few years to reduce the amount of packaging that goes onto a product. However, for my Masters Thesis, I asked the question: Can we eliminate that waste entirely?
The Disappearing Package – OXO POP Containers
Brand identity, marketing material and product details are all screen-printed directly on to the surface of the container with soap-soluble inks. Everyone washes food containers before use; that same act now disappears the package.
Currently, brand identity and marketing material are printed on a glossy paper slip held inside the container. Immediately, this printed material is thrown away, as it cannot possibly serve any further purpose to the consumer.
The same information—OXO’s brand mark, the product name and details, and a depiction of what might be stored inside—is printed directly on the surface of the container. In deference to this printing technique, all graphics and text are solid, single colors.
The ink used is not water-soluble, but soap-soluble, so it washes away with soapy water. Because this product is used for food storage, it’s likely the consumer would wash it first anyway. In this process, the “label” breaks down completely and is safe both for the environment and for septic.
Every solution features an insignia that both identifies it as a Disappearing Package (building brand recognition) and clearly instructs the consumer on how to disappear it.