Sustainability: Thinking Outside the [Shoe]box

Many consumers focus purely on the products themselves, not giving much thought to the packaging that contains them. Little do they realize designing packaging can be just as involved as the product design process.

PUMA—which designs and develops footwear, apparel and accessories—is one of the world’s leading sports lifestyle companies. Its long-term mission? To be the most desirable and sustainable in its markets.

At PUMA, they despise waste. Shoeboxes alone account for millions of tons of waste. Just think of the heavy corrugated cardboard each box is made of and all the bunched-up tissue paper stuffed in each shoe. In its efforts to be sustainable, PUMA began to look at ways to reduce packaging for its footwear line. A reduction in packaging translates into fewer raw materials to ship and dispose of and less energy consumed. For PUMA, this meant a drastic change to the shoebox as we know it.

PUMA spent 21 months thinking up the smartest shoebox ever. After testing, research and a complete life-cycle assessment of over 2,000 ideas and 40-plus packaging prototypes, it decided on no box at all. Enter the “Clever Little Bag.”

The switch from the signature red shoebox to the Clever Little Bag saw immediate measureable results. PUMA saved:

  • 8,500 tons of paper
  • 20 million mega-joules of electricity
  • 1 million liters of water
  • 1 million liters of fuel oil
  • 500,000 liters of diesel

In addition:

  • Reduced cardboard use by 65%
  • Reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 10,000 tons
  • Not to mention the bag is re-usable and biodegradable

Although PUMA hasn’t ranked as one of the world’s most sustainable companies, we can all agree the innovative Clever Little Bag packaging solution is one step closer to topping the list.

Other Notable Mentions:

Nike Inc.Considered Design – Ongoing commitment to design without compromise; either tn performance or the planet.

DellWrite My Essay Bamboo – It’s local. It grows quickly. It’s strong and durable. It’s a friend of the environment.

Coca ColaReduce | Recover | Reuse – Optimize products and quality, reduce waste, and improve efficiency and traceability across the product lifecycle.

StarbucksThe Betacup Challenge – A design contest to tackle the overwhelming amount of coffee cup waste accrued each year.

What is your company doing to be sustainable?

Photo: shoebox by How can I recycle this on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

This entry was posted in Industry News, Manufacturing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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