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Packaging waste reduced thanks to student innovation

03 July 2014 - 13:08 by Paul Tissington

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A graduate student from the Royal College of Art has come up with a clever way to make safe shopping online a more environmentally friendly activity in which to participate. And to achieve this, Yu-Chang Chou has targeted the packaging that protects products when they are being delivered to consumers.

The idea is that when you buy something online, you get the option of choosing the RePack packaging at the checkout. Then, once it arrives, you open up the outer skin, remove the product and then pop the packaging back in the post, where it can be redistributed for reuse and resale.

A deposit will need to be paid by consumers when they use safe shopping online to cover the value of the packaging, but this will be refunded once it is returned safe and sound, so it should not be any more expensive than delivery in its current forms.

In an interview with Dezeen, the creator of this project explained that every post box in the UK would act as a point of return for the packaging, making it easy for people to part ways with it, once their delivery arrives. Chou also argued that this would help to make post boxes relevant long into the future, in spite of the fact that mail volumes in the UK have fallen significantly after the emergence of digital communications.

The material used in the production of the packaging itself comes from recycled sources, mostly using plastic from old bottles, while still offering an impressive degree of protection for the contents.

Each of the bags can be reused a total of 200 times or more, depending on wear and tear, so rather than getting through lots of packaging for each online order, this could be a neater, greener approach.