JoAnn Hines has been provided excellent advice on the packaging of products for decades. This morning she sent out five tips on making your packaging better. She commented on how every product needs a package. It got me thinking about that statement, is it really so true anymore? If a package’s purpose is to protect and sell and the selling part is over, can we dispense with the expensive shell?
Take food for example. This weekend at the farmer’s market I saw a plethora of items all wrapped in their own skin with absolutely no writing on them – yet the texture, shape, color and smell told me the condition of the product inside. I already knew what the product did, now it was a matter of replacing or updating last week’s purchases.
In the same way once your product is embedded into a company’s pre-approved database of suppliers, the outside packaging can come down to minimalist standards. The buyer will be reading off of a database specification chart and won’t need all the writing on the package as to what the product can do; as long as it arrives safely and what is inside matches what you ordered, all is well.
That said, they will be caring about what that box is made of and can they add it to their resource recovery program.
Take the LACCD for instance. They will be spending billions in construction and green building products and furnishings to create 40 new buildings and retrofit 50 or so others over 10 campuses. That’s a lot of shipping pallets and boxes. The last thing they want is more stuff to manage.
While JoAnn’s list was directed at consumer goods, this green B2B construction world is changing the way things need to be packaged. As more things are ordered directly from the web and the “selling is done online,” I can see a new pattern in consumer purchases as well.
In the resource recovery world of the LACCD if you want to score extra points with purchasing:
1. Create the need for LESS packaging. That becomes a selling point when you’re positioning new goods inside a system that may be unwrapping scores of boxes for flooring, chairs, and walls.
2. If you can’t use less due to shipping restrictions or the weight that one person can carry, make sure that package can be recycled. Not only does the paper need to be recyclable, but the inks in the writing as well. What about the tape or glue holding it together? Everything must be considered.
3. If the box is recyclable, how was the box made? Did the cardboard come from FSC managed forests? Can you prove that the content is 50% or 100% recycled?
4. How easy is it to break down into flat sections? I’ve seen construction workers struggling to make things flat. Anything that creates friction in the total resource recovery process should be eliminated.
This sounds like more more hoop to jump through for a sale, but it’s a good hoop for business. As more companies order directly out of their own catalogs, the less you have to spend on packaging and marketing. Of course your sales rep might want a raise…
Need more green packaging info? Start here in California.