Sustainability is an important topic in the printing and packaging industry because packages are designed with the intention to be thrown in the garbage. A package carries the product to the end user and is then tossed into a landfill, or at best, sent to a recycling facility. But what if there’s a better way?
Pangea Organics is a company which is in the business of eco-friendly beauty products and is leading the way in sustainable packaging design and production. The company is based out of Boulder, Colorado and sources high-quality food-grade organic ingredients for all of their beauty products. Their packaging efforts play a vital role in the strength of their brand. Their continuous innovations in this area reflect their ongoing commitment to sustainability.
Pangea Organics’ Founder and CEO, Joshua Scott Onysko, believes in creating packaging with the earth in mind and he employs the wisdom of biomimicry in many of his products’ packaging. Biomimicry is the science of learning from the earth’s natural processes to solve human problems. For example, velcro was invented in 1948 by George de Mestral when he was on a hunting trip and noticed the burrs sticking to his dog’s fur. He then refined the “hook” and “loop” model to create velcro, which solves many human problems. Our earth is incredibly innovative when it comes to packaging “it’s products” (from bananas to oysters to aloe vera) and by observing nature, visionaries can make packaging more effective and more sustainable. Nature inspires the team at Pangea Organics to push the envelope when it comes to packaging innovation. Two of their products in particular (facial cream and bar soap) have packaging that is designed with the principles of biomimicry in mind.
Facial Cream Packaging
Pangea Organics packages most of their products in glass bottles, not only because glass is more sustainable than plastic (glass can theoretically be recycled forever), but also because it protects the product from harmful oxidation. In thinking about biomimicry, dark glass acts similarly to the way the corneas in our eyes act: as a barrier from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Their products are packaged in brown glass bottles which absorb light and protect the product inside, instead of in clear bottles where oxidation can turn a product rancid. Additionally, Pangea Organics has moved from clear adhesive sticker labels on their glass bottles to direct screen printing to reduce the amount of plastic used in their manufacturing process. This has taken the Pangea Organics team lots of time and energy to develop and it has not been an easy task for those involved in manufacturing. However, the result of this effort is a beautifully printed piece that serves form (it’s beautiful to look at) and function (it’s beautiful for the Earth).
Bar Soap Packaging
Pangea Organics has chosen to package their eco-friendly bar soaps in moulded fiber packaging, which is the same material in which eggs are shipped. The moulded fiber package utilizes a low-impact process of a recycled newspaper and hot water slurry. The slurry is then moulded into the shape of the package. It is a very sustainable process because the excess trimmed material is brought back into the newspaper and hot water slurry and is then reused, producing no waste. Pangea Organics was the first personal-care products manufacturer to use moulded fiber packaging, which is highly shock absorbent and lightweight, thereby also reducing shipping and handling costs. The material is made of 100% post-consumer waste, it is 100% biodegradable, and it is also the first plantable packaging (there are seeds in the moulded fiber slurry). When the user is done with the package they don’t have to send it back into the waste stream; instead they can plant it and turn the package into new life. In thinking about the principles of biomimicry, Pangea Organics is disseminating seeds the way it happens in nature, but in a method suitable to the modern chain of product distribution. For many of their bar soap packages, basil is the seed of choice, however for their special edition holiday gift boxes, the plantable package grows into a Christmas tree! When discussing using moulded fiber packaging for their high end beauty products, Onysko adeptly states, “if it’s good enough for eggs, it’s good enough for our products!”
Pangea Organics is setting a high standard for innovative packaging and they are a model for others in their industry to follow. They are leading the way in sustainable packaging initiatives in their box and bottle printing, as well as in the use of moulded fiber packaging. Find out more about Pangea Organics’ packaging innovations by visiting their website: www.pangeaorganics.com.