SWEDISH INNOVATION CAN REPLACE SINGLE USE PLASTIC

PulPac is a production method that dry-molds wood pulp (cellulose) into almost any shape or appearance in less than a second. The fast production speed makes the method very cost effective, as opposed to existing papermaking methods.

Single-use plastics and packaging is in the global spotlight. The packaging industry and brand owners are facing a huge shift, driven by both consumer and regulatory demands. So far, producing sustainable packaging has been too expensive for change to happen on a global scale.

PulPac is the world’s first patented method that can replace single use plastic at a lower cost on a global scale. The material, renewable, recyclable and biodegradable generic pulp from cellulose, makes it sustainable. A PulPac product can be cellulose only, which will dissolve in water within minutes. It can also be modified to hold moisture or liquids or to be strong and protect heavy and complex products. The main principle however, is to design for purpose. A PulPac product should last its use and then break down, regardless of where it ends up.

The PulPac technology is developed and patented by PulPac AB, a Swedish R&D and IP Company established in 2018. To reach out on a global scale, the PulPac technology is offered to brand owners and converters on a licensing basis. The aim is to disrupt the packaging industry and make impact at scale in reducing single-use plastics and contribute to a sustainable future for people and planet.

BESPOKE EXPERIENCES – DESIGNED STORYTELLING

Consuming experiences instead of mass-produced goods has been emphasized in recent years; travel, self- and soul-care have been marketed as obvious alternatives, canvassed against a backdrop of bleak mass-produced goods in abundance. This is one of many signs of how we have shifted our mindset from being a production society to a service society. We also see patterns in the way we live – values become more important than results, personal branding and relations more important than social status.

Jonas Lundin Love art business
Jonas is the CEO of the design agency LA + B in Stockholm and teaches Semiotics and ID generation at Konstfack Stockholm, and guest lectures among others at LTH in Lund, Arkitekthögskolan / KTH Stockholm and Berghs Stockholm. Jonas has been running design activities for 20 years in areas such as high-tech industrial design, packaging, marketing, media, TV and film, and has worked with customers such as Absolut Vodka, Volvo, Husqvarna, Nobel, SVT and others. This article was first published in Scandinavian Man issue 4, 2019, and has been edited. 

Our view on technology and innovation, previously portrayed as either savior or foe is also maturing slowly. AI – Artificial Intelligence – is reformulated into Assisted Intelligence, implying that it is not, nor will it ever will be, an autonomous species, but rather a smart tool. Virtual Reality, once seen as a next generation media platform, is, together with its siblings AR (Augmented Reality) and MR (Mixed Reality), renamed Virtual Influence, as an inspiring part of a larger context rather than one sole channel for storytelling. 
 
Data and big data, while tremendously useful, should be used with care; data is often flawed and often contains bias inherent even in the instrument of its collection. A single-minded focus on quantitative performance may presume that we all value progress at the expense of our humanity. Consumers, increasingly sensitive to the fact of every facet of their lives being reduced, tracked and funneled into a data-driven marketplace, grow weary of products that reinforce their anonymity and look for experiences in which they can find themselves. And so we find that the pendulum slowly swings towards the value-based, the empathic, the relationship-focused and the notion of a diffuse and complex society.

Companies and creatives creating experiences that consider the unique and diverse experiences, needs, and desires of their users have the opportunity to shape experiences which are customized by the perception and input of the user.

And it is through working out from this understanding that is the key to success today –– by creating a seamless narrative with clear values, showing empathetic understanding of the recipient, being transparent about who we are and what we offer. Not only our flawless façades but also by sharing how our backyard looks. Great innovation can be narrative and experiential. Innovation is not limited to the technological.

But one might ask, what of the consumer goods, then? Well, their relevance persists, but in concert with a larger whole. Products, their packaging, and physical environments represent the worldly, the powerful sensory experiences where the digital world has yet a long way to go. Physical entities, like packaging is an interface in open dialogue with consumers, and they are at their best when in conversation with an overall story. The days when the product’s monologue is in central focus are over. 

Brands such as Goop, with Gwyneth Paltrow at the helm, have understood this shift, and offer not only beauty products but also related experiences such as yoga classes, and wellness opportunities or conferences in a storytelling flow both online, at activations points and through their products and packaging. Apple highlights how the balance of services and products has become their new focus, cleverly building their own ecosystem of these, and after building momentum (or creating hype), Apple manifest their own myth through big announcement events. 
 
Creating a new dialogue and relevant collaborations have in recent years become a new standard for most brands in the fashion industry. Streetwear brand Supreme, takes this even further. Through digital and physical events, they announce collaborations with both high-street fashion brands as well as geeky gadget brands or mundane crockery companies. In an almost postmodern journey, they trigger our imagination, playing on gamification cornerstones like scarcity and randomness, giving space for other voices in their narrative, as well as embedding a sense of actuality.
 
If it is coherent, and if it is done right, good narrative, empathically engages the needs of the recipient, who at any given time can jump in and out of the story, and creates a bespoke experience to be enjoyed in both the digital and physical realms.
4 pointers when creating bespoke experience:
  • Understand the story you want to tell, from the receivers’ perspective. Enhance it by activating as many senses as possible per channel. Find new rooms and mediums – and pair, mix and enhance the narrative with traditional such as packaging, product design, POS and environments. The strongest impressions are still the haptic and spatial.
  • Innovate with empathy (not to be confused with sympathy). Create experiences that understand the user and build relevance.
  • Use data wisely. We have more data than ever, but it tells a one-sided story. Perceive the story behind the data. Use semiotics, and semantics; mix both explicit and implicit narrative in your communication.
  • Show your backyard, show the factory, be transparent, and let your receiver in.

Bio Design by Puma & MIT

A breathing sports shoe, that grows its own air passageways to enable personalized ventilation? A learning insole that prevents fatigue and improves athletes’ performance? A t-shirt that responds to environmental factors by changing its appearance to inform the wearer about the air quality? What sounds like future visions are actually research results by Sports company PUMA and the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Design Lab

PUMA and MIT Design Lab have been conducting research in the field of biodesign since June 2017. Biodesign is the practice of using living materials such as algae or bacteria to create products. It makes possible a football jersey made from the silk of a spider or a shoe box grown from mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms. PUMA Biodesign explores the new frontiers of biological design and fabrication to bring advances in science and biotechnologies closer to our daily lives through sport products.

Four initial experiments that derived from that study were exhibited at this year’s Milan Design Week. The four initial projects include a Breathing Shoe, which is a biologically active shoe that enables personalised ventilation by growing its own air passageways to keep the foot cool; Deep Learning Insoles, which collate realtime biofeedback by using organisms to measure chemical phenomena that indicates things like fatigue; Carbon Eaters, which is a microbially-active t-shirt that responds to its environment to change its appearance and inform the wearer about air quality; and Adaptive Packaging, a biologically programmable material that can change its shape and structure to become a new type of alive, biodegradable and adaptive packaging. See the videos here.

Bolt Threads x Stella Mc Cartney

Stella McCartney continues the brand’s dedication to fashion eco innovation with the announcement of a new partnership with Bolt Threads, a San Fransisco-based biotechnology company creating the next generation of advanced materials.

This new collaboration will push boundaries in fabric innovation and usher in the next generation of cutting-edge textiles. Bolt Threads engineers fibers from scratch based on proteins found in nature, and then develops cleaner, closed-loop processes for manufacturing, using green chemistry practices.  Exemplified in the collaboration with Stella McCartney, Bolt Threads is able to create silk using yeast, making the textile vegan-friendly; staying true to the designer’s vegetarian philosophy. Solution oriented, this process reduces pollution, creates long-term sustainability, and always remains cruelty-free.

The material is the result of seven years of research and design in a lab. At the molecular level it is spider silk made by human hands. A big team of scientists, engineers, technicians and designers, have developed a way to closely mimic silk created in nature by producing a fiber from corn syrup that was fed to a yeast fermentation. Once the protein is harvested and purified into a powder, it is wet spun into fibres and twisted into yarns.

The first piece from the partnership will be a one-off gold dress made from Bolt Threads’ signature “spider silk”. It will feature in an upcoming exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art called Items: Is Fashion Modern?

Inflated Origami By MIT

A team of MIT Media Lab researchers has developed inflated origami. A network of air channels in geometric patterns on sheets of paper, plastic, or textile. This creates inflatable pinched pouches which are subsequently connected and layered to take on complex folding forms.

MIT inflated origami packaging innovation

A computer program allows the designer to experiment and fine-tune shapes and patterns in a simulator. Once the desired response emerges digitally, the structure is fabricated. Via Frame.

Sustainable Shoe Box

After two years of designing, researching and testing, the ultimate sustainability shoe packaging has been developed. It’s designed to be more sustainable and cost effective compared to traditional shoe boxes

Viupax revolutionary shoe packaging, designed by Andreas Kioroglou, founder of the Greece based design studio Matadog Design. After two years of designing, researching and testing, the ultimate sustainability shoe packaging has been developed, as it incorporates a number of innovative features. It’s designed to be more sustainable and cost effective compared to traditional shoe boxes by using much less cardboard and less volume.

It uses 20-57% less material and occupies 20-50% less volume.

It is designed to be cost efficient in matters of production and transportation and above all designed in such a way to improve personnel productivity and user experience. It is designed to be flexible in stacking allowing them to be stored in many new and interesting ways. It eliminates the use of bag as it can be converted into a carry bag or shoulder bag to be easily transported by the customer.

Shape-Shifting Pasta

Researchers at the MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group have managed to make shape-shifting pasta!

Researchers at the MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group have managed to make shape-shifting pasta, edible origami 🙂 Why? To package and ship pasta more efficiently for example. But of course they have many examples of culinary potential for this technology.

The researchers have created flat sheets of gelatin and starch that, when submerged in water, instantly sprout into three-dimensional structures, including common pasta shapes such as macaroni and rotini. The researchers presented their work in a paper this month at the Association for Computing Machinery’s 2017 Computer-Human Interaction Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. They describe their shape-morphing creations as not only culinary performance art, but also a practical way to reduce food-shipping costs.

“We did some simple calculations, such as for macaroni pasta, and even if you pack it perfectly, you still will end up with 67 percent of the volume as air,” says Wen Wang, a co-author on the work and a former graduate student and research scientist in MIT’s Media Lab. “We thought maybe in the future our shape-changing food could be packed flat and save space.”

Packaging from milk protein

The French start-up company Laptops has created a water soluble and biodegradable thermoplastic pellets based on milk protein

The French start-up company Lactips started in 2014 with the purpose to tackle the problem of environmental waste. In order to do this they produce water soluble and biodegradable thermoplastic pellets based on milk protein. Those pellets are used as a raw material for thermoforming, film, or any kind of plastic applications. You have probably seen their soluble film for dish detergent, which is fully integrated with the product – there is no need for the consumer to remove the packaging. So now the company has taken another exciting step in the global packaging development. They have developed an edible plastic packaging for the food industry, created from milk protein (casein).

Hinoki by Nine

Hinoki is a beautiful sustainable packaging concept created for the cosmetics industry. It’s designed by Swedish innovation agency NINE. NINE is a future-driven innovation consultancy, part of the BillerudKorsnäs Group, a publicly traded company and global provider of smarter packaging for a sustainable future. CHALLENGE: In the Cosmetics Industry, the notion of  “premium” products is commonly connected to…

Hinoki is a beautiful sustainable packaging concept created for the cosmetics industry. It’s designed by Swedish innovation agency NINE. NINE is a future-driven innovation consultancy, part of the BillerudKorsnäs Group, a publicly traded company and global provider of smarter packaging for a sustainable future.

CHALLENGE: In the Cosmetics Industry, the notion of  “premium” products is commonly connected to the “little extras” on the packaging. Many times, this extra packaging is not entirely necessary and only used during a limited time and then simply discarded. For Hinoki, we wanted to create a sustainable packaging range that is premium, respectful to the planet and a true game-changer in the world of packaging.

SOLUTION: Hinoki is a range of travel-size packaging made out of biodegradable paper for organic skin care products. It’s a concept based on simplicity, single-origin, and respect for the renewable material applied to a currently quite un-sustainable packaging category. The structural design of Hinoki is inspired by the form-language of origami as a means of being true to the value of the material. Each container uses a single piece of laminated paper, folded and pressed into shape, with a tear-off corner revealing a Hinoki wood twist cap.

RESULT: The result is a tactile and natural skin care range with premium value, coming not from artificial inflation, but rather an honest representation and respect for the value of both packaging materials and product experience. The concept is based on existing material and technology. It is currently in the process of being up-scaled. NINE together with Billerud Korsnäs will invite one brand owner partner, in a first mover ambition to develop concepts together with us for sustainable solutions projected to be on the market within 24-36 months.

Rescued Fruits

Too much fruit is thrown away today. In cooperation with fruit importers, traders and farmers, Rescued Fruits takes care of the fruit which is wonderfully good to eat but for various reasons can not be sold. It could be a banana that is yellow instead of green, an apple with a bruise or a pear that is too…

rescued fruit packaging design food innovation 1

Too much fruit is thrown away today. In cooperation with fruit importers, traders and farmers, Rescued Fruits takes care of the fruit which is wonderfully good to eat but for various reasons can not be sold. It could be a banana that is yellow instead of green, an apple with a bruise or a pear that is too small. Rescued Fruit refines the fruit and make something really good with it, like marmalade and juice.

WWF Natural Cleaning

This is outstanding! All the plastic bottles with chemicals we use to clean things around us. This work designed by Leo Burnett for WWF, showcases sustainable ways to do it instead. “Just is a WWF initiative created to show that there are often simple and natural alternatives to many of the products we use every day –…

WWF just* packaging innovation design

This is outstanding! All the plastic bottles with chemicals we use to clean things around us. This work designed by Leo Burnett for WWF, showcases sustainable ways to do it instead.

Just is a WWF initiative created to show that there are often simple and natural alternatives to many of the products we use every day – products that require packaging that uses up resources and often end up as landfill. A few simple steps are all it takes to make small changes that, when done by many, can help create a cleaner and more sustainable future. Create a better tomorrow, today.”

Leo Burnett explains:

“To help spread WWF’s sustainability message in a new way we helped people rethink how they consume by creating a range products called just. 100% natural and packaged in recycled and biodegradable materials, each was an alternative to a mass-produced product, free from plastic containers. Made available at produce markets, just reminded people that they were already buying many of the ingredients they need to live more sustainably. A dedicated microsite also housed a series of simple and light-hearted ‘how-to’ videos to show how easy it is to use the products while promoting WWF’s core aim of creating a world where humanity and nature live in harmony”

Carlsberg developing a bio-degradable bottle

Carlsberg plans to develop the world’s first fully bio-degradable and bio-based beer bottle. Made from impulse-dried wood fibers, the “Green Fiber Bottle” is a groundbreaking innovation and currently under development in a partnership between Carlsberg Group and partners ecoXpac, Technical University of Denmark and Innovation Fund Denmark. The project commenced in January 2015 and it is…

Green-Fiber-Bottle-carlsberg packaging design

Carlsberg plans to develop the world’s first fully bio-degradable and bio-based beer bottle. Made from impulse-dried wood fibers, the “Green Fiber Bottle” is a groundbreaking innovation and currently under development in a partnership between Carlsberg Group and partners ecoXpac, Technical University of Denmark and Innovation Fund Denmark. The project commenced in January 2015 and it is expected to take three years to develop the final product.

This is the first prototype of their bio-degradable bottle. Still looking and feeling very different from what the final product will be, the prototype does give an idea of what the future of beer bottles could be.

FibreForm Packaging

BillerudKorsnäs FibreForm® offers new opportunities for all kinds of packaging solutions where previously traditional papers have had their limitations. With extremely high stretchability comes the possibility to replace plastics with striking and personal packaging solutions in exciting shapes. FreeFormPackTM is a leak proof fibre based container formable in 3D FreeFormPackTM gives designers and brand managers the…

BillerudKorsnäs FibreForm® offers new opportunities for all kinds of packaging solutions where previously traditional papers have had their limitations. With extremely high stretchability comes the possibility to replace plastics with striking and personal packaging solutions in exciting shapes.

  • FreeFormPackTM is a leak proof fibre based container formable in 3D
  • FreeFormPackTM gives designers and brand managers the possibility to create unique shapes and textures.
  • Machine can flexibly produce multiple shapes and effects with change parts.
  • Materials are safe for direct food contact.
  • It is suitable for non-liquid food markets and all non-food markets
By Kristina de Verdier on 29 April, 2015 In , ,

Insects – the future of food?

“US food start-up Six Foods has developed a brand of crisps called Chirps, which uses beans, rice and cricket flour (made from crushed crickets) in its ingredient mix. The company claims that, compared to a typical bag of potato crisps, Chirps have triple the amount of protein – delivering 7g of protein per portion, the same as…

“US food start-up Six Foods has developed a brand of crisps called Chirps, which uses beans, rice and cricket flour (made from crushed crickets) in its ingredient mix. The company claims that, compared to a typical bag of potato crisps, Chirps have triple the amount of protein – delivering 7g of protein per portion, the same as an egg – as well as half the fat. The crisps, available for pre-order in the US, come in Aged Cheddar, Sea Salt and Hickory BBQ varieties. “The contemporary branding solution helps to make this type of ingredient more palatable to a wider consumer audience,” says Mandy Saven, head of Food, Beverage & Hospitality at Stylus. “This is something you could easily picture on any mainstream supermarket shelf.” At this year’s Food Vision Conference, Chris Cornyn, director of US-based food and drink agency Dine, expressed a similar sentiment. “If you can make insects look like great food, it will make a huge difference [in the minds of consumers]. However, we’re going to have an issue with labelling – you can’t ignore that there is a bug in your food. Via Stylus

By Kristina de Verdier on 14 April, 2015 In , ,

Vessyl knows what you are drinking

Vessyl – Packaging designed for people’s different needs, by Fuseproject “Have you heard that you should drink 8 glasses of water per day? Well, it’s not that simple. Truth is… we all have different hydration needs. Your Vessyl estimates, tracks and displays your real-time hydration needs. Your level rises and declines based on a variety of…

Vessyl – Packaging designed for people’s different needs, by Fuseproject “Have you heard that you should drink 8 glasses of water per day? Well, it’s not that simple. Truth is… we all have different hydration needs. Your Vessyl estimates, tracks and displays your real-time hydration needs. Your level rises and declines based on a variety of factors. Vessyl automatically knows and tracks everything you drink (calories, caffeine, fats, sugars, etc). So whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, regulate caffeine, or stay hydrated, Vessyl helps you keep track of what matters to you. Your Vessyl connects to iOS and Android mobile devices. So all of your nutrient data gets updated to your mobile device.”

By Kristina de Verdier on 11 October, 2014 In ,