private posts

sorry just realized because I was writing the blog posts from my phone it actually posted as private :/ i’m working on reuploading all the blog posts I wrote as pubic posts because for some reason I have to do it manually by creating new posts instead of just switching the settings – shelby

Sustainable Product Packaging

A very brief overview.

What is sustainable packaging?
Packaging that reduces its environmental footprint over its lifetime.

How do you achieve it?
(1) Raw 100% recycled materials or raw materials
(2) Efficient production process
(3) Reusability

So plant packaging is best?
No, not necessarily. This is where knowing where resources come from becomes significantly important. It’s a complex system, but in many instances eco-friendly isn’t sustainable because it could mean clearing endangered rainforests to make room for these new crops.

Sustainable Thinking:
When thinking of how to package products, it’s helpful to use sustainable-forward thinking. This means considering:
(1) Can my packaging be functional as something else?
(2) How can I reduce the amount of physical packaging actually needed without compromising aesthetic and functionality?
(3) Where are my resources coming from?

Creative sustainable packaging design (I’ll be updating as I observe!).
Some of my favorite packaging that I’ve observed:
(1) Business cards that can be buried to grow plants — now every time the recipient sees their new plant, they’ll think of your business.
(2) Food sold in glass jars — after one is done consuming the product, the jar can be repurposed as a pot, pen holder, or to hold new food.

Sustainability in the Digital World

It’s not surprising that currently two of the most important business practices are: incorporating environmentally sustainability and maintaining an online presence. However, it might be surprising to hear that the two practices intersect.

Yes, even completely digital businesses have an opportunity to practice being eco-friendly.

Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning (HVAC Systems)

Even if a business does not have consumer packaged goods, it is likely operations are still conduced in an office space.

Today, it’s more inexpensive than ever for businesses to install smart HVAC systems or even retrofit older equipment to be more energy efficient. Research conducted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that traditional systems use up to 40 percent of total energy consumptions in buildings. Switching to energy efficient HVAC systems not only does reducing energy reduce a companies carbon footprint, but also reduces variable costs within the company. Just by upgrading an old HVAC system, it can improve sustainability and reduce energy costs by up to 20 percent according to Pacific Gas & Energy Company.

Minimise Data

When one thinks of sustainability, they may believe it only applies to physical resources like plastic or paper. But, while it may be hard to believe, in actuality just one hour of video streaming per week uses more electricity in a year than two new refrigerators (Digital Power Group Report). Collectively, the world’s ICT ecosystem (information, communication, technology) uses 10 percent of all electricity usage because of the energy required for data centers.

So although the work of digital designers are not tangible, it does not mean it comes without environmental impact. To reduce data usage, designers should consider the functionality of every aspect of their page without reducing aesthetic integrity. They can do so by designing lighter weight screens and only using video when it’s necessary (or at least not autoplaying). In doing so, designers also make their digital work more accessible to those with limited bandwidth.

Cutting back on physical resources

Even for companies that are completely online, many still interact with resources one way or another. A good example of this is UberEats. Recently they updated their checkout page to include the option of whether customers would like utensils added to their order or not. While visually it was a small change to the design of their checkout page, the insignificant slider has significant impact by reducing unnecessary waste — especially since so many eat their delivered meals at home where they already have reusable utensils. With any company, its important to think of every single way they interact with resources and how it can be reduced.


In our current society, it seems like every brand is slapping “organic” or “plant-powered” on every single product in order to project the idea of environmentally sustainable practices. It’s no secret that many consumer packaged goods that are eco-friendly marketed are actually produced by legacy brands. So that natural, eco-friendly soap in minimalistic packaging you bought is actually essentially the same product as the Safeguard soap you used to buy because they’re both produced by Proctor & Gamble. Whether it be due to legacy brands or barely-true claims, the term sustainability has become a vague buzz word that is thrown around.

So what actually is sustainability? The United Nations commission defined it as “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

pivoting my essay…

I have finalized my paper topic to sustainability and design. Although I originally planned to focus on the effects of digital UX design and it’s relationship with environmental sustainability, I have decided to broaden the topic to environmental sustainability in general design practices within businesses due to an underwhelming lack of studies and scientific research to write an entire research essay on.

I will be covering these areas of design and how to implement sustainable practices:

  • Digital UX Design
    Although there are very few English articles on the subject of how digital design affects our physical environment, there is enough scientific data to be informative. Certain shapes and colors use more energy therefore increasing a company’s carbon footprint. Minimizing high energy-consuming design elements can reduce a companies carbon footprint. While I don’t think I’ll be able to find enough resources to focus the essay on this subject matter, I think it’s important to keep as one of the main topics because many people do not consider the internet as a source of pollution.
  • Product Packaging
    It is now a common practice for companies to consider and utilize sustainable packaging for their physical products. However, many designers are limited to what materials are recyclable or compostable — but there are many other things to consider:
    • Can the packaging be designed to be functional as something else? (for example: packaging you can plant)
    • How can designers reduce packaging without reducing the visual aesthetic integrity?
    • Where are these materials sourced? Manufactured? Distributed?

I am thinking of adding one more subject to cover — overall I want this research paper to act as a general guide of things to consider for small startup companies which is why I’m covering digital (for apps and push emails) and product packaging. I chose to not cover products specifically because implementing sustainable practices in product design varies too much from industry to industry. If you have any suggestions please feel free to let me know!


Feel free to comment your opinions on my possible subject!

  • Sustainability in the UX field
    Although User Experience (UX) is often thought of as a field that works on intangible projects having no environmental impact, in actuality, the UX field works on both intangible and tangible projects which BOTH have environmental impacts. Yes, the internet effects the environment.

Back-up topics

  • Psychological Principals in the field of UX
    My only qualm with this subject is that it’s painfully obvious to anyone interested in the field of UX. If you want to create excellent UX design, you need to focus on the user and the way their brain works. However, this subject offers much more availability of scientific sources.
  • The effects of parenting on business entrepreneurs.
    I want to explore if various parenting styles can impact their child’s future entrepreneurial success. I’ve always been fascinated in this subject because of a childhood friend of mine. Although we were both at similar intellectual levels, as our classes got more challenging, he excelled while I fell behind. He explained to me that as he grew up, his parents praised him for being hard working. On the other hand, my parents praised me for being so smart. The small difference in wording affected our future work ethic significantly.