Multi-layered milk carton

After starting to conduct workshops at Design Circle, the number of like-minded friends I have made is amazing considering myself a mostly introverted specimen individual. Recently one such friend suddenly landed up in our studio production unit to realize some unique toy he had in mind and prototype. During the course of discussion he mentioned about some Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) activities being done in his company. A very unique ‘eco-friendly’ material was being used by an NGO to make school furniture for kids. Being one of highly ‘materialistic’designer, I was curious to know about what this ‘unique eco-friendly material’was. He tried to explain to me that the material was made of ‘recycled’ multi-layered packaging material.

On the outlook it was such an amazing cause of doing good both ways- firstly it was about providing school furniture for kids and secondly ‘we are saving mother earth’.

Now the devil’s advocate designer inside me comes out.

WHY DO WE ALWAYS CREATE A PROBLEM AND THEN REJOICE ON FINDING THE SUPPOSED SOLUTION

For this article i am limiting to the multi-layered packaging material we usual find in our milk and juice cartons. We come across this kind of packaging in most of our departmental stores, malls, fast food chains, dairy and food processing companies etc. Without bothering about the statistics we can easily assume that the production and consumption volumes are humongous.

This efficient packaging solution has created a not so unique, not so uncommon problem- the problem of handling ‘solid waste’. The huge production and consumption of these materials has necessasitated the setting up of specific industries that are highly energy and capital intensive that can handle the left over solid waste. not to mention the end product coming out of these units are nothing but a compaction of the waste itself. We have consumed a lot, been consuming a lot and will be consuming a lot for time to come unless we ask and try to answer some simple

QUESTIONS?

The questions are important since it is these questions that will give rise to more important questions among individuals, students, parents, families, schools, institutions, companies, producers etc etc. These questions are about our choices, purchases, consumption patterns, how we consume, what we consume, how much we consume etc. A necessary order has not been followed in putting up the questions, but they have been numbered so that people can specifically respond and give a feedback

  1. How much packaging is necessary for products in general and food products in specific that we consume on a daily basis?
  2. Do we need the multi-layered kind of plastic metal fusion packaging for all the products that are being packaged?
  3. Did we always consume products packaged in this particular way?
  4. How bad was the scene before this king of packaging?
  5. Do we need, in a country like India — one of the largest producers of milk and milk products to have multi-layered packaging for plain milk in such huge volumes?
  6. Why do we so easily accept the common costing model where the package is more expensive than the product?
  7. Does the problem lie in the lack of choices or in our CHOICE itself?
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