Canadian Packaging

Clearcutting Through Packaging Excess


November 28, 2008
by Colleen Devoe

It’s been some time in coming, but it’s nice to see more CPG (consumer packaged goods) manufacturers realize that today’s conscientious consumers not only want to see products and packaging that’s good for them but, ultimately, as harmless for the planet as they can be. That’s a tall order for the likes of Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G), whose broad array of iconic brands is sold to 180 countries worldwide­—including those where environmental protection is not even a passing thought. But with e-waste becoming an evergrowing global threat to the planet’s well-being, the new packs of Duracell Rechargeable Pre-charged batteries—retailed in handy see-through packs that are shaped to fit the batteries and the mini-charger to a tee, with minimal excess—are a timely and welcome product innovation. Unlike most other rechargeable batteries requiring at least a 12-hour charge, these Instant Power-labeled babies are ready to go right out of the package, which touts its credentials with a promise of retaining power for up to 365 days when not in use, and can be recharged and reused hundreds of times—meaning the diversion of countless thousands of disposable throwaway batteries from out landfills.

•••

Product multifunctionality is the backbone of waste reduction, and Newell Rubermaid’s Goody Do You 3 in 1 mirror—used either by hanging, standing or being handheld—is also perfectly-suited for the minimalist packaging used for the product. A simple cardboard wraparound containing all the instructions and specs on the extra features—such as the comfort-grip and a choice of two magnifications—is as plainly informative as its is unobtrusive, allowing consumers to see, touch, feel and use the clever contraption to their hearts’ content before making the purchase.

•••

This “nothing to hide” approach to packaging is well-replicated by the Chicago-based car-care products company Voodoo Ride for its JAKD Micro Fiber Cleaning Cloth. Playing up the ‘cool’ factor for the younger crowd with the trusty old skull-and-crossbones imagery on the label—fittingly complemented with off-the-cuff remarks along the lines of, “This is all pretty basic stuff here,” and “Do not use bleach or fabric softener, even if you think you know how,” it’s another fine example of making the best of minimal packaging footprint to let consumers touch and feel the colorful lime-green cleaning cloth before buying into the company’s claims—printed on the back—of no-contest superiority over cotton, terry cloths, or anything else out in the market.