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Beyond Aesthetics: Industrial Design Leads the Charge

Beyond Aesthetics: How Industrial Design is Leading the Charge in Sustainable Innovation at Winpak

As the world continues to deal with the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation, it has become increasingly clear that we need to find innovative ways to reduce our impact on the planet. For Winpak, sustainable innovation is all about finding ways to create packaging solutions and systems for our customers that meet their and our needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own.

Introduction to Sustainable Innovation and Industrial Design

As an industrial designer and Innovation Director for Winpak, I have to say that one of the key players in the fight for sustainability is actually… well you guessed it: industrial design. Industrial design is the process of creating and developing products, systems, and services that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional, efficient, and sustainable. Industrial designers are responsible for designing everything from cars and furniture to packaging and household appliances.

Industrial design has always been about more than just aesthetics. However, in recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the role that industrial design can play in ensuring sustainability. By designing products and systems that are more efficient, durable, and environmentally friendly, industrial designers are helping to reduce climate impact.

The Role of Industrial Design in Sustainable Innovation

Industrial designers may focus on using eco-friendly materials in their designs or designing products that can be easily disassembled and recycled at the end of their lifecycle. They may also look for ways to reduce the energy consumption of a product during its use, or design products that have a longer lifespan, reducing the need for frequent replacement.

Industrial design plays a critical role in Winpak’s sustainable mission. One of the key ways that industrial design is contributing to sustainability is by focusing on the entire lifecycle of the packaging we create. From the initial design and development stages through to the end of the packaging's life, we are constantly looking for ways to reduce waste and promote sustainability.

Examples of Sustainable Industrial Design

There are countless examples of sustainable industrial design in action. One great example is the Nest Learning Thermostat. Designed by Tony Fadell, the Nest Thermostat is not only a sleek and stylish device, but it's also incredibly energy-efficient. The thermostat learns your patterns and adjusts the temperature of your home accordingly, reducing energy consumption by up to 20%.

Another great example of sustainable industrial design is the Ecover bottle. Ecover, a manufacturer of eco-friendly cleaning products, redesigned their plastic bottles to be more sustainable. The new bottles are made from 100% plant-based materials and are fully recyclable.

The Challenge with Plastic Packaging and Industrial Design Solutions

One of the biggest challenges facing industrial designers today is plastic packaging. Plastic packaging is perceived as a major source of waste and pollution, with millions of tons of plastic ending up in landfills and the environment every year. Industrial designers are working hard to find solutions to this problem, designing packaging that is more sustainable and easier to recycle.

One solution to the plastic packaging problem is the use of biodegradable or compostable materials and biopolymers such as the one we are just introducing to Winpak’s FlexPod™ family. Biodegradable and compostable resins and its subsequent applications in packaging break down naturally over time, reducing waste and pollution.

Consumer Responsibility and the Role of Industrial Design

While industrial design can play a significant role in promoting sustainability, it's important to remember that we, as consumers, also may have the largest responsibility to tackle this problem and that is, to make sustainable choices and dispose properly of our waste in the right manner so that our discarded packaging finds its way to the correct recycle or waste stream.

Industrial designers can help with this endeavor too, by designing products that are easy to use, energy-efficient, and long-lasting. However, it's up to consumers to choose these products and use and dispose of them in a sustainable way. As consumers, we can all make the greatest difference by choosing products that are eco-friendly, reducing our energy consumption, and recycling whenever possible.

The Importance of Collaboration between Designers and Sustainability Experts

One of the key ways to promoting sustainable innovation is collaboration. As we design new packaging formats and materials, we work closely with sustainability experts inside and outside Winpak to ensure that our designs are truly sustainable. Sustainability experts can provide valuable insights into the environmental impact of different design choices and help our design practice to make more sustainable choices.

By working together, we are creating packaging formats and systems that are not only functional – ensuring extended food shelf-life and aesthetically pleasing to the consumer but also environmentally friendly and sustainable.

The Future of Sustainable Innovation in Industrial Design

As more and more companies set more aggressive goals for sustainability and we, as consumers, recognize the importance of sustainability and take this matter seriously with consequent actions that speak to our commitment to the environment, there is a growing demand for eco-friendly products and systems.

In the future, we can expect to see even more sustainable innovation in industrial design. From eco-friendly packaging to energy-efficient appliances, industrial designers will continue to play a critical role in promoting sustainability and reducing our impact on the planet. And on this Earth Day, just like Industrial Designers are purposeful in their mission to bring aesthetics, functionality, and sustainability to products we use, please be purposeful citizens of the planet as well in your own choices.

Manuel Moreno
Manuel Moreno
Director, Corporate Innovation
Winnipeg, MB Canada

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