What about spoons? Of course not, but people have tried, according to Julie Ketchum of Waste Management, one of the speakers at the recent IoPP MN Discussion Panel at General Mills Headquarters. In addition to learning more about sustainability from a local recycling standpoint, it also happened to be a relevant topic at the HOW Design Live Conference I attended in Chicago as well, but from the designer’s point of view. It’s definitely something consumers and businesses are thinking about, especially here in Minnesota where we have the largest Waste Management recycling facility in the nation.
Making Things Simpler
Many manufacturers are starting to use recycling icons on their products to educate consumers about what is recyclable, which is a shift to being more transparent with consumers than ever before. Kellie Kitsch from the City of Minneapolis, spoke about how residents love the “how to” recycle lists on items. They are noticing more people peel the plastic off and put lids in the garbage and the rest gets recycled, which is great from an involvement standpoint. Consumers have an “I want to do this – and do it well” attitude. However, there are still some people out there that think they are doing it right, but aren’t. This is why using recycling icons on product labels can really help educate everyone to do better. One of my clients recently asked me about adding recycling icons to their product labels and we are currently working on this update right now. See who it is here.
With more education, consumers and businesses can do better. My key takeaway from the panel was instead of focusing on “end of life” in recycling, we need to shift the focus to “beginning of life” and that starts with the design. A new client of mine is in the process of rebranding and the owner is committed to packaging sustainability for her products. Now is the perfect time for us to start talking about this while in the planning stages – because this topic is important for her brand identity as well as the consumer she is targeting. Stay tuned for more information about this new project...
Let’s Do This!
If you have a packaging project and you’d like to implement ways to make it easier for the consumer to recycle and be more sustainable, let’s chat over some coffee – in a reusable or recyclable cup, of course! By staying ahead of the curve and informing your consumer about steps you are taking as a company to be more sustainable, that will give them even more reason to purchase your product over the competition.