Smart Sustainable Product Packaging: 14 Standout Designs

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Just as the cover of a book can really say a lot about its contents, so can the packaging of a product – and recycled, fair trade and otherwise sustainably produced goods should have an outside to match. These 14 (more!) examples of beautiful green packaging emphasize the earth-friendly qualities of each product, stand out on the shelf and can easily be recycled or even reused for something totally new.

The eBay Green Box

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(images via: the dieline)

Taking third place in the Dieline Packaging Awards 2011, the eBay Green Box by Office was developed as a pilot program providing 100,000 boxes to eBay sellers and encouraging reuse. According to eBay, if each box gets used five times, the program could save 4,000 trees, 2.4 million gallons of water and enough electricity to power 49 homes for a year.

Together Rice

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(images via: design boom)

Beautiful, eco-friendly packaging is only a natural companion for sustainably produced goods. Taiwanese company Green in Hand created this brown bag embellished with traditional Chinese calligraphy and tied with rattan for rice grown sustainably and organically.

Eco-Friendly McDonald’s Packaging

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(images via: dominic mondavi)

While it wouldn’t exactly make McDonald’s an eco-friendly place to eat, green packaging might make a slight dent in the restaurant’s massive carbon footprint. This student packaging concept by Dominic Mondavi is actually a great example of greenwashing: making a product seem more sustainable than it is.

Plastic-Free Packaging for Gadgets

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(images via:  packaging uqam)

Plastic blister packs of the sort most electronics are normally packaged in are designed to show products off while also protecting them – but they’re wasteful, hard to recycle and often very frustrating to open. Designer Emilie Bertrand has an alternative: recycled cardboard packaging that’s accessible and beautiful enough to keep around for storing the devices when they’re not in use.

From My Farm

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(images via: bryt)

Plastic netting is exchanged for a punctured paper bag in this refreshingly simple packaging design by Bryt.

Tony’s Farm Eco-Packaging

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(images via: coroflot)

Another organic farm in China wanted packaging that falls in line with its sustainable philosophy. Designer Matthias Burhenne created a molded pulp box for Tony’s Farm produce which is made from sustainable sources and is moisture-resistant. It’s suitable for reuse and stackable, and can be recycled or composted.

Premium Thai Pomelo Packaging

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(images via: yod corporation)

Do individual pomelos really need packaging? Maybe not, but at least this attractive little accent by Yod Corporation will fully biodegrade within 3 months of burying it. Plus, it’s made from a local plant found near where the fruit is grown – water hyacinth, which is known to be invasive.

Eco Packaging for Recycled Products

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(images via: the dieline)

Created for products that are made from recycled, reclaimed and renewable materials, this packaging tells the story of those products and where they came from, and is itself made of 100% post-consumer recycled materials. All branding is restricted to the paper sleeves so the colorful boxes can be reused.

Timberland Earthkeeper’s Shoebox Design

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(images via: the dieline)

Timberland’s eco-friendly Earthkeepers line of shoes get simple and beautiful brown packaging that aligns perfectly with the feel of the brand in this student concept by Katelyn Peissig.

Hemp 4 Haiti

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(images via: the dieline)

The Hemp 4 Haiti project focuses on providing sustainable, reusable goods and products to victims of natural disasters, with exterior packaging made from high-quality hemp that can be unwoven and reused. The paper on the outside of the container reads, “In 2010 Haiti received 4 million water bottles in relief efforts. In 2110, Haiti will have 4 million empty water bottles from relief efforts.”

Wine Box Turns into a Lamp

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(images via: atelier 29)

For once, the packaging that an item comes in could be more valuable than the item itself. A company called Hera Holding commissioned a bottle of champagne in a reusable package that turns into a lamp. Designed by the Brazilian firm CICLUS, the lamp box includes a wooden sleeve that turns into the lamp shade and even comes with the electrical cord kit.

Allotinabox Gardening Kit

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(images via: ilovedust)

Everything you need to grow a garden is here in one attractive recyclable box. ‘Allotinabox’ comes with a grow wheel, organic seeds, labels, gardening twine and more.

Ever-Green Toilet Paper Cardboard Container

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(images via: greenline paper)

It doesn’t make much sense to go out of your way to buy recycled toilet paper, only to have it encased in plastic that has to be sent to the landfill. This packaging eliminates that problem with a cardboard box that is recyclable – and also makes for a handy dispenser.

Organic Valley Packaging Concept

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(images via: the dieline)

This student-designed packaging for Organic Valley milk would really make the product stand out on the shelf, sending an instant message to shoppers about what’s inside. Say the designers, “Just as Organic Valley operates differently from its competitors, so should its packaging. An updated, hand-drawn logo brings a simple, organic feel to the brand, while still referencing the original logo with its cropped barn and sheaves of wheat. The copy on the packaging serves to connect the company’s goal with the consumer to promote recycling and sustainability.”

Berry+ Laundry Detergent

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(images via: the dieline)

This is probably the coolest laundry detergent packaging ever. Berryplus puts its non-toxic, earth-friendly detergent in a series of capsules inside a pod, resembling medical supplies. Copy on the inside reads, “First aid for your laundry and the planet.”

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