Re: [GRRN] Plastic Container Design

Roger M. Guttentag (
Thu, 30 Sep 1999 17:27:17 -0400

Dear Peter and GreenYes:

As usual, Peter's steady contributions to this list are greatly
appreciated by this subscriber. I found the following comments from his
latest message posted today most interesting (excerpted below):

<italic>1. Nothing short of a nuclear war or the second coming is going

dissuade the brand companies from continually pursuing new packaging
innovations; but also

2. That does not necessarily need to be bad for recyclers if that

innovation is channeled into directions that work with instead of against


These comments stimulated the following thoughts regarding the constant
tension between product and packaging design evolution and the often
neglected need to incorporate waste reduction parameters into these

The waste reduction / recycling community should accept comment #1 as a
given. Now how do we achieve the goal of comment #2? By taking
advantage of the following human proclivities (especially in this

a. Many of us are competitive, even in very peaceful pursuits.

b. Competitors usually like to win.

c. The desire to win is often grounded in nothing more than our eagerness
to show that something is possible and that, by winning, demonstrating
that one had the necessary wit and perserverence to make the possible

I would like to suggest that waste reduction / recycling advocates
sponsor a competition, open to anyone, to create a specific packaging
design (fill in the blanks here) that fulfills the usual criteria that
commercial packaging must meet and that is also technically and
economically feasible to recycle, reuse or both. The prize for winning
is a fancy award, huge public accolades, professional recognition and
respect and, oh yes, maybe even a monetary sum, say $10,000. This sum
could be raised by 100 people pledging $100 each. I hereby pledge to
contribute $100 to a fund set up for awarding this kind of competitive
prize. Once the prize has been awarded, a new design competition is
announced, I would contribute another $100 to fund the prize (as I hope
99 other colleagues would as well) and we start a new competitive cycle.
If engineering students, for example, will work like possessed devils to
create a better concrete canoe, why not a better package that could have
very real commercial value?

Maybe this would help contribute to the sustainable future we all want.=20
Any comments?

Roger M. Guttentag