This year's Package to Thrill awards will be the first real test to showcase the major improvements made in the environmental design and resource recovery of packaging under the Packaging Accord (2004).
Paul Curtis, executive director of the Packaging Council who runs the awards says that eight years ago, the council set out to encourage and recognise companies that were making exceptional progress in their packaging.
“When we started all this was seen as “green stuff” but its now absolutely part of business as usual in the packaged goods industry. There are new markets in New Zealand for recycling plastic bags, using glass in aggregate and construction and better systems for processing recovered resources.
“Unsustainable packaging design has ramifications for brand owners so it’s in everyone’s interests to get this right and these awards allow us to promote and value producer’s achievements. In 1999 we had 26 entries with over 61 in 2005 – we expect this year’s to surpass this.”
He says packaging has to protect and transport their contents and ensure they arrive at their destination, fit for the purpose.
“But if brands and packaging manufacturers do not factor in environmental impacts of their packaging, then it is simply not sustainable,” he adds.
“The 2007 Awards programme recognises not just the package but its conception through design, material selection, transport, recovery and ultimate disposal.”
Curtis says that they are looking for examples from brands, packaging materials manufacturers and recycling operators which show new product design, new markets for recovered materials and new partnerships.
Past supreme award winners include deep nest poultry crates, a 60 litre plastic oil drum, Coca-Cola bottles and containers for chilling fish in transit.
Ten categories in this year’s awards cover the materials commonly used in packaging such as paper, plastics and metals as well as innovation, resource recovery, systems and improved environmental impact. Brand owners are included, as are tertiary students with a category dedicated to their conceptual designs.
There are also two new categories which will honour new improved consumer information and involvement and innovative use for surplus waste container glass.
Awards entries close at the end of May.