The Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) 2012 Green Packaging Design Competition was held yesterday, with a cardboard box that can be folded into a flat shape and made with recycled corrugated paper winning first place in the student’s category.
The competition attracted 205 designs — with 147 becoming competitive designs. Six winners were chosen from 92 students’ designs and eight winners from non-student groups.
“Products with beautiful packaging tend to attract more consumers in the market,” Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Deputy Minister Chang Tzi-chin (張子敬) said. “But excessive packaging — sometimes the packaging materials take up more space than the actual products — leads people to think it is a waste of money.”
“Excessive packaging not only wastes money in manufacturing and recycling the packaging materials, but it also wastes many valuable resources,” he said.
The EPA has promoted green packaging for several years and also established rules to regulate product packaging, limiting the layers of packages and fining companies that do not conform to the rules, Chang said, adding that the agency estimated that about 7,000 tonnes of packaging materials have been saved by its policies.
Many consumers think excessive packaging is often found on products in five categories — pastry gift boxes, cosmetics, processed food, computer components and liquor, so most of the designs in the contest focused on these products, the EPA said.
The first-place winner in the students’ section were three students from Shu-Te University — Hsiao Pen-kuei (蕭本貴), Liu Fang-yen (劉芳燕) and Liao Yu-hsien (廖于嫻) — who designed a paper container made from one piece of recycled cardboard that can easily be folded into two types of boxes.
In the non-students section, first place went to Matthew’s Choice Premium Yogurt, for their design of a mono-color paper box without plasticized surface and with modifiable paper interlayer for packing different sizes of yogurt and jam containers.
“Having worked as a product manager for yogurt products at a large enterprise for about 20 years, I sometimes felt I was an environmental devil, making so many product packages that polluted the environment,” said Matthew Wang (王世煌), chairman of the company.
“So when I established my own company two years ago, I kept the idea of ‘sustainable environment’ and ‘green packaging’ in mind,” he said.
“Although the winning paper container costs about three times the price of plastic ones and took some time for consumers to support, some consumers recognize the importance [of environmentalism] and we allow consumers to bring back a container for refills,” Wang said.