The Disappearing Package – GLAD Trash Bags



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?

GLAD Trash Bags

Product information and a refreshed Glad logo are printed with traditional oil-based inks on the last trash bag in the roll, which is no longer kept in a box. The last bag is the package itself, leaving no extra trash when it gets used.

Currently, brand identity and marketing material are printed on a heavy-weight paperboard box that holds the roll of bags. This box is used (somewhat unsuccessfully) as a dispenser, until it is eventually trashed.

In this refresh, visual elements are limited to the most important information: the brand, the style and size of the product, and the number included. This information is all printed directly on the last bag, which holds the others together, and eliminates the need for an extra layer of packaging.

Bags are pulled from the center and used, one-by-one. The label is printed on the last bag with traditional oil-based inks, so it will remain permanent until the end. This bag carries the product information, reminding the consumer what they need to get more of.

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.

  1. This definitely is reducing the packaging waste since the idea of the designer/developer eliminates the secondary packaging or better say as primary packaging even. But are these bags coming under eco-friendly categories?