Single-use retail packaging waste is growing at an alarming rate and is a big challenge for the design community. With modern consumption patterns shifting from physical to online retail, and goods being shipped globally, the logistics and material footprint of packaging have drastically increased in complexity. Goods go through many phases of packing and unpacking before they reach the final consumer. Huge amounts of waste are generated throughout the supply chains, from manufacturers, distribution centers, digital inventories and local logistic delivery systems. Did you know that retail packaging is made up of mostly non-degradable high-performance polymers or composite fused materials, laminated with organic fiber and thin metal films, to pass mechanical drop tests, food safety and environmental resistance standards? The most important function of retail packaging is to protect the product from contamination, water damage and impact during transport. Simply labeling things “degradable or recyclable” to make consumers feel less guilty about their convenience-based behavior is just marketing. Everything is degradable sooner or later but the time frame is crucial.


Single material retail packaging design that can be fully recycled or fully degradable.
Packaging designed for multiple lives: adaptable to different sizes/product categories, extending the use from inventory to store, store to display, display to consumer, transport to warehouse or store, to the consumer, and finally to recycling bins.

7 – Cameron Snelgar – Sugar Cup

Aiming to eliminate the ubiquitous polystyrene plastic cup used on airlines worldwide, I set out to design a new cup out of biodegradable and renewable sugarcane fibre (bagasse). It was important to also do away with the standard hot beverage plastic lined paper cups as well as keep the hands comfortable while drinking. So I designed Sugar Cup – it’s biodegradable, viable to manufacture, handles hot and cold beverages and is comfortable to hold.

Most airlines even if they try to recycle their waste often cannot because of the flight destination restrictions. So most of the waste can end up in landfill. Sugar cup can be recycled, disposed of in landfill where it will biodegrade or be composted.

So the next time you travel, sit back, relax and think Sugar Cup.

13 – Thomas Avolio – Pcup

PCUP is an indestructible glass in silicone for food, light and resistant up to 230 C °, guaranteed up to 2,000 washes, used as a replacement for disposable in events, clubs, accommodation facilities. Each glass has an NFC chip on the bottom that uniquely identifies it. Through the proprietary app, the user reads the chip of the glass and accesses the digital profile of the event or structure in which he is located, receiving updates in real time, getting in touch with the other people present. But above all, the glass opens on the user’s phone the list of drinks that can be purchased on site, selectable and payable with credit in the app by placing the glass on the reader supplied to the barista. This eliminates the receipt operation, significantly cutting queues and personnel costs.

21 – PlasticMama – Plastic Hay

I use plastic bottles to transform them into a light rigid water resistant bouncing padding.
It can be used as a design material, an art installation or at a larger scale, it can serve as mattresses and seating bags.
It is most importantly accessible to everybody around the world: the rich and the poor!

105 – Don Yaw Kwaning – Medulla

Medulla is a material research into the soft rush in which different elements of this dominant and usually unwanted plant are developed into materials like paper, textile, foam & a construction material.

The soft rush is mostly known for the Japanese tatami mats for which the plant is cultivated in Japan and China. In most other world regions with a moderate temperature, the plant grows as a weed and appears in grasslands, forests & swamps.

In the Netherlands, the soft rush covers areas of many thousands of hectares. Farmers want to get rid of this invasive weed because its presence makes the grasslands less valuable for agriculture purposes. Next to that, nature conservation authorities want to get rid of the plant because the soft rush brings along a lower biodiversity. Therefore the Dutch State forestry removes thousands of kilos of the soft rush out of these areas each year.

Currently there is no high valued application for the soft rush strands that are removed from nature. But by separating the pith from the fibres new circular materials can be developed that lead to new application possibilities for the soft rush. The strong fibres of this plant can be developed into materials that are well suited for high- and low-end packaging like paper, (corrugated) cardboard, rope, nonwovens and textiles for sacks, bags and boxes.

The pith of the soft rush is a foam. This material possesses lightweight, shock-resistant and insulating properties that make it suitable as a circular packaging material. The packaging material can be applied as tangled noodle strings or can be compressed into a foam block without adding any bonding additives. These circular materials can partly function as a substitute for the toxic material polystyrene, which is often used as packaging material in the form of beads and boxes. In addition to that, the foamy pith can be compressed in different densities, which also makes it suitable as a circular lightweight construction material that can be applied in furniture.

109 – Eric Smith – Bruk

Bruk is a sustainable beverage carton designed to be recycled.
When we purchase a beverage carton like those commonly used for milk or juice, we place little consideration into their life after we put them in the recycling bin. Environmentally conscious consumers may think that a paper carton is more sustainable because it uses less plastic than a similar carton made from plastic and they are right to think so. However, due to their construction the common paper beverage carton is surprisingly difficult to recycle. Conventional paper milk cartons are made using paper sandwiched between two thin layers of plastic, in order to recycle them, the paper and plastic must be separated which requires a special process that is both expensive and not widely available. As a result in the USA only 16% of beverage cartons are recycled and only 49% are recycled in the EU.
Bruk is designed to eliminate these problems; when it’s time to recycle it the consumer simply tears bruk in half releasing the HDPE liner so it can be recycled separately from the cardboard. This process is fast simple and fun. We designed bruk to be intuitive and inclusive, easy for everyone regardless of physical ability. Bruk is as convenient and easy to use as a conventional carton, but uses less plastic than a plastic carton and is 100% recyclable with conventional equipment unlike paper cartons.

151 – Pietro Gaeli – Simone Caronni – Paolo Stefano Gentile – Peel Saver, ecological fries packaging

Fries companies produce a lot of potato peels waste. The idea of this project is to use this waste material in order to create a street food packaging. The potato peel is made up of starches and fibers components, which after mace- ration and natural drying, acquire the ability to bond with each other and harden. The obtained material is completely made of production waste and is 100% biodegradable. After being used, the packaging can be usefully re-inserted in the biological cycle becoming animal food or fertilizer for plants.

202 – Patrick Gelse – EcoPack

no butts. is a small box which is added to the bottom of cigarette packs, the idea is to have a container for cigarette filters if there is no ashtray or way of disposing of your cigarette butt near you. This project intends to educate smokers to take responsibility for their litter by providing no excuse to litter on the streets or in nature.

258 – Fibermates – Textile Hanger

About 400 tons of old clothes are sorted daily at the German headquarters of Soex, one of the biggest textile recycling companies worldwide. The majority of the old clothes are sold as second-hand items (around 60-70%), however the proportion of non-reusable clothes is steadily growing due to declining textile quality. Many textiles contain mixtures of different fibers, therefore they cannot be turned into homogenous materials anymore. The consequence is tons of hard to recycle composites made from plastic and natural fibers, which are downcycled as filling materials or incinerated.
The product designers Laura Jungmann, Martha Schwindling, Elena Tezak and Jonathan Radetz would like to use these resources and create a closed recycling loop by processing old textiles into high-quality products.

The Textile Hanger is designed as a presentation hanger in the retail trade and, in the sense of a circular product cycle, can be shredded again into fibers following its wear and tear and can be used to manufacture new hangers or other products.

A new production process developed and patented by a German engineering company is used by the designers: Any kind of fiber –from textile threads and shredded plastic bottles to natural fibers like wool, hemp or wood– can be mixed with a thermoplastic bonding fiber and blown into a mold, where it gets heated and pressed into the final 3D shape.
This process can be used to upcycle industrial scraps or waste and to replace energy-intensive and toxic PU foam processing. Besides the environmental advantages it is also highly efficient in the use of raw material and it doesn’t require pre-products in the shape of mats or blocks. All leftover fibers can be reused, and already pressed forms can be torn again and reused for the process. The production method further allows for complex variations of density and shape in a single part.

358 – Ekaterina Matyushenko – ProEcoPen

We produce ballpoint pens, notepads and clips from recycled Tetra Pak cartons, toothbrushes, PET and ABS.

First was a pen 301 and it is made of 100% recycled Tetra Pak cartons (source is recycling plant in Russia).

9 months ago we launched notepads with cover made from 100% recycled Tetra Pak and paper from 85% recycled paper (source is another recycling plant in Russia).

2019 we started to produce pens from recycled toothbrushes (eco-friendly people collect and we recycle it using our facilities).

2019 we launched two new pen designs – 340 and 350 with better ergonomic properties.

The main idea is: recycled materials are returned to economy.

Less waste – more useful products – less virgin plastic needed – better ecologic situation!

373 – Kontra Team – GET: Green Effective Tube

One billion toothpaste tubes are thrown out each year.

And the toothpaste tubes are often consisting of non-recyclable chemicals and full of pollutants. But you cannot simply tell people to stop brushing their teeth.

The human diet is harmful to our teeth more than ever, the cultural importance of toothbrushing is raising and together with the improving education in the field of personal hygiene the need for a responsible toothpaste packaging is bigger than ever.

GET (Green Effective Tube) is a solution to this struggle. The design, that is changing the behavioural pattern of toothbrushing as minimally as possible to ensure it will earn love of general public, not only the narrow sustainable bubble. GET looks and behaves maximally as the common toothpaste tube, while harnessing the advantages of a reusable packaging. GET: smile without remorse.

419 – Jetske Korenromp – Rebloom

A new ecological packaging material for flowers: ‘Rebloom’ gives leftovers from the flower auction and withered bouquets a second life.

Did you know that perfectly good flowers are destroyed when they are not sold? Jetske designed a sustainable solution by processing these discarded flowers into an all-natural gift wrap for fresh bouquets, eliminating the need for plastics, paper or tape.​​​​​​​

The process resembles that of hand-made paper: flowers are cooked, milled and pressed into a lightweight material that proudly shows its origin. Roses, chrysanthemums, gerbera, tulips or lilies each have their own signature. An additional ‘bouquet arranger’ from the same material makes any arrangement stand out in it’s vase.

“Wrap without waste: flowers for flowers”

424 – Giuseppe Fasano – Luft Parcel

Luft Parcel is a new-ecommerce packaging start-up on a mission to align brands and consumers to the common goal of reducing single use packaging offering an alternative to conventional postal packaging that enables a return and reuse model. Orders are delivered in an inflatable parcel that can be simply deflated and folded down to a very compact size to be returned to the retailer for another use. By using the same packaging repeatedly, we eliminate single use packaging and obtain substantial environmental benefits. With online shopping set to account for more than 50% of all retail sales by 2028 we believe reusable packaging is a vital part of the solution to eliminate plastic pollution.

464 – Dr. Kanchan Chhabria – Teething

My packaging solution does not just make the packaging sustainable products it also tries to inculcate a sustainable approach towards life. I decided to re-design the packaging of toothpaste and turn them into toys. This approach will impart values of re-using things in kids in their early livelihood. Environmental problems are here to stay. So I say instead of just designing sustainable products, we help future generation to develop a sustainable approach towards life in general.

495 – Relicta

Relicta srl is a startup that has developed a water-soluble bioplastic packaging made from fish industrial waste

511 – Luca Gnizio – Forbubblewrap


“DISPOSABLE” packaging is the greatest contributor to plastic pollution. When recycled, however, it has enormous potential, giving new life to “waste”.

I’ve transformed recycled polyethylene (PE) into bubble wrap that is thicker and stronger than that normally used to wrap and protect items and created an EVERLASTING system that eliminates the need for cardboard and polystyrene packaging, with clear environmental savings.

The system is waterproof, can be used for dispatching goods of all kinds and can be reused over and over.

The fastening method makes packing tape redundant and the security device can also incorporate a company logo/tracker tag.

516 – PET-MAT – PET Brick

Pet Brick is project that explores possibilities of creating a second life for plastic PET bottle.

PET bottle is a technological marvel. Its extremly light with minimum of material but its very strong and it can withstand high pressures. Both from outside and from within.
Despite its unique capabilities its meant to be thrown out after single use.
Its life is measured by minutes. Its a shame.

Im a designer with long experience designing pet bottles and i teamed up with two architects with goal of turning a problematic single use plastic product into multipurpose object with long life and adittional benefits.
People around the world, especially in developed countries had been recognising potential of PET bottles and used them in construction and simple architecture.
I wanted to take this idea further and design special bottle that can work as a functional construction unit. The PET-Brick.

Design development took so far 4 years and several prototype stages. PET bricks have the original interlocking system that makes them stronger and at the same time allows them to be stacked on the top of each other.
System allows for different types of brick bonding patterns including 90 degree corners.
surface of a brick is designed to maximise rigidity, while enhancing optical and aesthetic quality of a resulting wall structure.

Applications can range from serious or permanent scenarios, to temporary solutions. In life saving scenario PET bricks can be used in cases of natural disaster stricken areas, where there is need of water supply as well as construction material to build from. Bottles can be brought in and after water is consumed, they can be filled with local dirt or sand to become heavy functional bricks. Building of smaller outdoor structures or tents is possible for various temporary events or permanent purposes. In indoors, bricks can work as a space dividing elements. Keeping the light in the space thanks to its transparency. Partition walls are possible in office or public space settings.

Benefits of the design in the packaging segment.
Optimalization of shape along with interlocking system might have even more important implications within beverage production and distribution itself.
Thanks to its rectangular shape with a short neck that can be inserted into bottom of the neighbour bottle, the space is much more efficiently filled with product than with standard bottle. That means more products can travel in one truck, lowering carbon footprint. Interlocking system makes much more stable block of products that “stand on their own” That might allow to further lower amount of plastic needed for shrink wrapping during transport. Potentially saving thousands even millions of tones of plastic.

Packaging is a field where key thing is scaling. The whole packaging industry fights for every gram of material everywhere, because everything gets multiplied by millions of sold pieces. Thats why unfortunately most/all of new alternative/natural packaging design solutions do not usually work, because they become unefficient, unavailable, carbon footprint heavy and expensive when scaled up.
We know for sure that for some time, plastics are here to stay with us, but till we find better alternative, we cannot give up on innovation. Every incremental evolution and enhancement counts. and is multiplied by million. PET brick is an honest effort to look at the bottle in a different way. And its made to acommodate further development in
materials that will be coming from scientific and chemical fields.


552 – Green Circle Innovations – Oko Cup: The Best Alternative to Single Use Cups

Oko is an all-inclusive solution for reducing plastic waste in the hot drinks industry comprised of an innovative cup and washing system combination. Oko delivers the convenience and cost-efficiency of market dominating single use methods combined with the sustainability benefits of reusable alternatives.

The Oko Cup is a cleverly designed reusable cup, created to make reusable cup maintenance easier, quicker and cleaner. The Oko Clean is a first of its kind rapid-washing facility based on industry standard clean-in-place principles.

Oko Cups are intended to be sold via service station retailers to beverage consumers, and also directly to consumers via online channels. The Oko Clean system is provided to service stations on a rental model, providing them with a competitive edge in both sustainability and convenience.

I developed the idea for Oko while assisting my daughter with a school science project, which was on the top of the environment. She came across some facts about ocean pollution and the problem of single use plastics. One fact that shocked the two of us was that every minute a garbage truck of waste is being dumped in the ocean, the equivalent of 8 million tonnes per year. My daughter asked me how we could just keep doing this. It shocked me to know that I didn’t have an answer.

In our live, there comes a time when we face a challenge. We have two choices; we can hope someone else will look after it, or we can meet the challenge head on, own the problem and work to create the change we want to see. For my daughter, and for myself, I felt I needed to take the second option.

Realising it would be impossible to solve all the single use plastic problems at once, I focused on one area. Choosing single use coffee cups was easy because I was part of the problem – like hundreds of millions of others, every day I took a plastic lined cup with a plastic lid at least three times a day and enjoyed my coffee.

So, I decided to switch to a reusable cup. However, several issues quickly became apparent. Keeping the cup clean was a real problem – I didn’t always have time to do it at the office kitchen sink, and there was no way to wash it “on the go” at service stations. The cups didn’t make it easy either – there are areas under the lids and around seals that are difficult to clean and take a lot of time and effort to do so. Now I could understand why, even with generous discounts, global coffee chains have failed to get reusable cup usage above 5%. Using a reusable cup was a pain, and that is why most people don’t use them.

This was a great realisation because now I knew we didn’t need to preach to people to change to reusable cups – we need to make it easy for people to use them.

I have since developed Oko by using every spare minute in evenings and weekends endlessly talking to people about their issues, iterating design ideas and creating prototypes. The easy to wash cup and automatic wash system makes the job of keeping your reusable cup clean both easy and fast. Through addressing these challenges, we are removing the barriers to widespread adoption of reusable cups in our everyday lives, making beverage consumption cleaner, greener and easier.

553 – Acqua di Parma – Two new luxury amenities lines for Acqua di Parma in R-PET

Acqua di Parma has an amenity line (shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion) in plastic tube since many years, The products are distributed to a short list of super luxury hotels all around the world.
In 2018 we started to think about two new lines, one with the classical Colonia scent and the other one in blue, with Arancia di Capri scent, in the Blu Mediterraneo family. The big news was to use a plastic bottle, with the same shape of the iconic Acqua di Parma classical bottle. Speaking internally between Product Innovation dept, Operations and Environment, we decided to evaluate the R-PET, 100% recycled plastic coming from Post Consumer Waste. The plastic is produced in Italy by Aliplast and this choice leads to a huge positive environmental impact (see encl). The lines were launched in the second part of 2019 and it’s a big success for Acqua di Parma, very welcomed by our prestigious clients.

554 – Unocup

Coffee drinkers want a cup which they feel will contribute to waste reduction, while still keeping the convenience and great feeling of drinking coffee on the go. So far, it has been difficult to find a solution that is both pleasant to use and environmentally friendly.

Solution overview
Unocup uses a well-tested patent pending folding design to create its own lid as an integrated top. The cup is easy to fold, hold, drink from, cheaper, and more sustainable.

Since the first prototype in 2015, and the 800 prototypes that followed it, we’ve ran with, shaken, and stirred all the cups made in order to ensure we arrived at a design that was ready for all of the rush time needs of modern consumers.

Cup Functionality
The cup is optimized to be easy to fold, hold, drink from, and reopen.
The foldable top allows for less spillage and sturdier holding
Iconic look and more aesthetic than a traditional cup
Users do not need to fiddle and look for a lid, which creates a more comfortable drinking experience.
Users no longer have to worry about their lid popping out, which can cause large messes and discomfort.
Unocup’s features a unique ergonomic design. It’s distinct shape fits right into a person’s palm, and its drinking spout fits a person’s lips to create a smoother drinking experience than that of traditional and rigid plastic top.
Unocup’s uniform structure creates a strong and consistent body that won’t cave under pressure
Unocup’s flaps can be folded backwards, so that one can drink from the rim just like a normal cup. Users can stir their coffee and add in milk or sugar with nothing in their way.

For Businesses
Lids do not need to be manufactured, stored, or transported, therefore saving on costs in energy, storage, materials, machinery, real estate, transportation, labor, and time.
Unocup’s folded top allows for unique branding or messaging possibilities for businesses or causes.
Unocup’s ability to fold backwards means that baristas can perform latte art with it, and have expressed that due to the unique shape it is even easier to craft latte art.

Its one-piece structure is optimized for mass-production using existing traditional cup-making machines.
Collecting used paper cups becomes easier since customers will no longer need to deposit lids and cups into two different collection bins. This also allows making a cup that is 100% compostable or recyclable a lot easier since you do not have to worry about a separate material for the lid. There is also the main benefit of being able to get rid of plastic lids as a whole, which make up a significant portion of plastic waste throughout the world. This has major implications in terms of not only materials, but energy as well.

619 – Reverse Innovation (Mirco Onesti – partner and creative director Reverse Innovation) and Idealpack (owner Giulio Ghisolfi) – Ideal Pouch

Our intention: to overcome the negative image of wine sold in pouches or as a “bag in a box”.

Ideal Pouch reinterprets the classic Bordeaux bottle by means of a play of contrasting opaque and gloss materials. A pouch is wrapped in a paper sleeve that defines the elegant shape and also ensures that the product is robust and self-standing. The graphic design and fine detailing have a crucial role in supporting the high quality positioning of the wine.

We introduce a new polycoupled film barrier totally in polyethylene, the same cap material. Consequently, the product is 100% recyclable. The external cardboard is easily separable from the consumer.