Award-winning sustainable packaging for e-commerce

Bad sustainable packaging made with new materials were the protagonists of the XI edition of the National Design Awards i Durability of containers and packaging, which took place on September 25 at the Ateneo Mercantil in Valencia, Spain. These awards are an initiative Cluster of innovations in containers and packaging. They represent “the meeting point between the business world and the university world,” says their general manager, Jesús Pérez.

The challenge was accepted by more than 600 students from 26 universities and training schools across Spain. Five top companies, such as Logifruit, Industrias Alegre, Natra, Apisol and Eurobox, launched packaging challenges for participants to solve. The common denominator was sustainability.

These are jobs that solve challenges that, amid the pandemic, have increased with the strong growth of home delivery, e-commerce and the need to guarantee security in the process. A new honey dosing system, a container that enables the internationalization of chocolate in Japan, and an exhibition packaging for the sale of Premium cosmetics are some of the participating design examples.

Cooler pack with bamboo insulation

The winning work of the Logifruit challenge was the project ‘Bambox’, by Sofía Nieves, Ana Tudó and Javier Redondo from the University of Zaragoza. The challenge was to develop packaging that is isothermal for use in the last mile of food products. These are its characteristics:

  • A box for multiple use, made of only two materials and with a structure that is easy to handle and stack.
  • The main innovation is that the insulation system is made of bamboo, a 100% biodegradable and reusable material.
  • They showed that a thin layer of bamboo acts as an insulator, but also increases the hygiene and quality of the food it contains, protecting it from particle migration.
  • The packaging includes an empty chamber to achieve an efficient, sustainable and hygienic isolator.
  • It includes NFC technology for temperature control and is an environmentally friendly alternative to current refrigerant tanks.

Sustainable packaging for e-commerce

In the challenge proposed by Industrias Alegre, the winning entry was the ‘Eco-Hybrid Box’ by Irene Hinojosa, Ana Tudó, Daniel Peris and Javier Redondo from the University of Zaragoza. It is a versatile returnable packaging for e-commerce. It also takes into account the optimization of the logistics chain with the elimination of additional packaging and the user experience. These are its characteristics:

  • Its design allows the boxes to be stacked without the need for reinforcement packing.
  • It has holes as handles that allow hands to be inserted and are calculated using anthropometric tables.
  • It includes NFC blocking technology for special orders, servo motor activation, GPS tracking and 4G connectivity.
  • It reinvents the user experience (UX) of unpacking thanks to a secure lock that slides in a pleasant and intuitive way, after this order extraction step, allowing the packaging to be folded and returned to the logistics center for the next use.

A box of chocolates that interacts with the user

In a challenge set by multinational Natra, sustainable packaging designed specifically to improve the ‘unboxing experience’ of chocolate for the Japanese market won. The winners are Cristina Meléndez, Ander Otegi and Endika, from Mondragon University, with the project “IRO”. It is a cylindrical container made of cardboard and paper with a housing that rotates to change the body and head of the drawing looking for interaction with the user. These are its characteristics:

  • It is a product intended for the gifting category. The culture of gifting in Japan is full of symbolism and tradition, and the average Japanese consumer attaches great importance to packaging, both visually and functionally.
  • Its range of three different colors adds a personal touch and variability to the gift. So the user can give a red container when he wants good health, a blue one when he wants happiness and a green one when he wants luck.

Detachable and refillable honey packaging

In the case of Apisol, a beekeeper since 1912, the winning design is a new honey packaging concept that has revolutionized the sector since the invention of the “little jar” for pouring. The winning work is the project ‘Izadi’ by Andre Arruti, Julen Hernández and Hugo Ostiza from Mondragon University. These are its characteristics:

  • Tank made of sustainable materials, such as stainless steel, wood and glass.
  • It is a fully recyclable and refillable container whose life can be maintained as long as the user wishes.
  • The dispenser is designed so that after serving, the honey returns to the inside of the jar without staining the outside of the container.
  • It is easily removed and can be refilled as many times as needed.

A sustainable podium for a premium product

The “Layer_Bx” project by Eva Milan from the Madrid School of Design is the winner of the Eurobox challenge. It is a platform that allows attracting consumers at the point of sale. These are its characteristics:

  • It consists of four pieces of material that can be completely recycled.
  • They provide visual and technical innovation.
  • It has a foam paper base in which the product for sale is inserted, two die-cut sheets with a mirror effect and a lid.


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