Saturday, April 17, 2010

Yves Behar's New Green Shoebox for Puma

Here's an example of honest, truly sustainable design that's nothing short of inspiring.  Yves Behar, founder of Fuseproject consultancy partnered with Puma to rethink their shoe packaging, and broadly include the entire product lifecycle into the process.  Shoeboxes result in a ridiculous waste and even after they've been reused for storage of some sort are eventually disposed of.  Fuseproject studied the current manufacturing and after thoroughly attacking the problem from every angle came up with what they called a "Clever Little Bag".

Basically it's about half of the box, with a low production energy die-cut flat cardboard structure that's folded into shape without laminated printing, any tissue paper, lighter in weight than a conventional shoebox, and far more recyclable since no additional materials or parts need to be stripped out first.  The bag that covers the box and protects the shoes is also recyclable, and made from recycled PET, with a non-woven method, which uses less material than woven variety, and stitched with heat.  It eliminates the traditional bag you get in the store, saving more plastics yet.

So what kind of environmental benefits and saving exactly does all this design goodness result in?  How about over 60% reduction in energy, water, and diesel required for manufacturing annually.  Or more specifically, saving 20 million mega-joules of electricity, 264 gallons of water, 264,000 gallons of fuel, 8500 tons of paper, 275 tons of plastic, and 132,000 gallons of diesel since the reduction in shipping weight.  That is what I mean by inspiring.

The new package will ship in 2011, and I sure hope that the rest of the shoe manufacturers take a good notice, since what Yves Behar and Puma came up with is no rocket science - just a serious, honest, deliberate focus on designing a product that not greenwash, but makes a significant difference in making our world cleaner and healthier, while making the packaging even more functional and pleasing to the eye than before.  That's what good design is about. 

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