Pratt Institute student Aaron Mickelson examines packaging design for ways to eliminate waste as part of his Masters Thesis Project ‘The Disappearing Package‘. He takes a product and then based on its use case, creates packaging that becomes the product itself, like soap packaging that dissolves in the shower, a container of Tide pods made from the pods themselves, and trash bags that create their own dispenser without cardboard packaging.
Mickelson took five products; Tide PODs, OXO POP Containers, Twinings Tea Bags, Nivea Bar Soap, and GLAD Trash Bags, and reimagined their packaging. By applying the functions of packaging to the product itself, he created packages and containers that completely disappear by the time you’re done using the product.
Bogobrush aims to not only produce a 100% biodegradable toothbrush but to help someone in need with their plan to give a Bogobrush away to someone who needs one with every one that is purchased.
The brother and sister team of John and Heather McDougall’s design is sculpted from bamboo and uses nylon bristles that are biodegradable, meaning that no part of it will end up in a landfill.
Something occurred to me recently - or maybe re-occurred to me. In the past, I’ve framed the environmental problem as partially a problem of immediacy. Short-term priorities vs. long-term priorities. People think we have time to deal with ecological collapse; they think it’s something we can put off until “tomorrow.” And of course, we keep putting it off until the next day, the next year, the next decade, the next generation.
We don’t know how to react to threats that don’t look like something out of the movies. And even when it should be obvious, we have all these mechanisms for denial at the ready so we can reassure ourselves that everything’s okay.
But it’s not okay. That’s my point. We don’t have time to wait anymore. Action is long, long over-fucking-due. When we talk about the environment, that’s what we need to realize.
This is not about getting people to care about what happens in the long term; it’s about getting people to realize that it’s happening now.
Then again, maybe it’s just about getting people to care at all, because god knows that so many out there just don’t.
The thing is, the threat is here now, it’s immediate.
There are already environmental refugees. People are losing their homes and their land, because of rising sea levels, and we’re just sitting around twiddling our thumbs.
Yes, exactly. And that’s where the denial comes in. It drives me crazy.
But that’s why our culture is structured so as to divorce us from the consequences of our actions in a thousand ways. If it weren’t that way… well, we probably wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. My point is, this system can’t sustain itself without denial. Its physical infrastructure itself perpetuates this psychic distance (we see it in globalization, etc.).
And it’s just screwed up the way we think. The threat is here, and we can see and observe the effects of it, and yet business continues as usual…