This reusable takeaway packaging design was a collaborative group project with Esme Woodington. Our aim was to reduce the amount of waste overflowing our landfills, specifically by tackling mass takeaway packaging. This project got shortlisted from design competition Creative Conscience, which awards environmentally & socially sustainable design.
To start this project, we visited Bournemouth’s local recycling centre to find out more about our increasing landfills and the threat they cause to the environment. We found that the most common materials thrown away are polystyrene and cardboard. Polystyrene is a one-use only material and non-biodegradable, while cardboard can only be partially recycled, as areas contaminated by grease or food cannot be recycled, and what is more, cardboard can only be reprocessed a limited number of times. Therefore, neither of these materials is fully recyclable and continue to overflow our landfills.
Through conducting surveys we found that there was a large misconception over the recyclability of cardboard. We also found that the most common material filling peoples’ general bins was contaminated takeaway packaging, making it unsalvageable. The majority of participants answered that they are interested in having a positive effect on the environment, however by means which are neither difficult nor time consuming.
To try to reduce the amount of non-recyclable takeaway packaging, we decided to focus on designing a range of reusable takeaway containers for a variety of food types. After considering different materials for the packaging, we found that silicone was the best option - it provides a sturdy exterior, which is safe for food use, and does not release any toxins during the manufacturing process. We implemented the same technology as used for food storage containers ‘FlatStacks’ into our design for easier household storage, thereby making it more appealing to consumers to keep.
Silicone lasts a lifetime and can therefore be continuously reused. It is also a fully recyclable material, dishwasher safe, microwavable and oven-safe; all making the product adaptable to suit consumer needs. The final design contains air holes to remove any condensation which would reduce the food quality, while still keeping the food hot. The lid is also designed to be detachable and can be placed underneath the container to act as a heat barrier giving further convenience to the user.
We named our product SilaBox; ‘Sila’ derives from silicone, which was the material chosen to create our product. Sila means ‘morality’ in Hindi and ‘present’ in Buddhism. We therefore felt that SilaBox was a successful representation of our design as it highlights the properties of our product. These include the environmentally friendly and luxury elements of our design, as this product is more up-market than standard takeaway packaging. We wanted our visual identity to be related to the food industry while projecting a minimalistic and elegant personality to our brand. We chose to do this by using a simple, chic, sans-serif font, which also incorporates a culinary aspect. As well as this, we chose to add emphasis to the product’s function by adding a boldness to the word ‘box’ within the logo.
In addition, we added a fun slogan "Love me, feed me, never leave me" as a tagline for our product to encourage people to treat the packaging with care. We also wanted to make the product more personal to help consumers relate to the message and see our form of packaging as a more permanent solution.
We designed a range of SilaBox sizes for a variety of takeaway foods and decided that our product would implement well into the food delivery industry. The idea being that our takeaway packaging could be sponsored by a popular delivery service such as Deliveroo in order to help combat rising environmental issues concerning mass waste, specifically takeaway packaging.
The idea behind this concept would be that the users have the option to subscirbe to SilaBox for £2.99 a month, meaning that their food would be delivered in a SilaBox container. Then, upon future deliveries, they recieve a new SilaBox whilst returning the previous one(s) to the driver. This would be an ongoing cycle of recieving and returning Silaboxes with each delivery. In addition, the user is able to use the product for general household usage, such as lunch-boxes, picnics, etc. before returning it with their next delivery. The users' Deliveroo account will keep track of how many SilaBoxes they have in their possession incase they want to hold onto them for a little longer! Any SilaBoxes that have not been returned before the monthly subscription would be kept by the user for an additional £2.99. An alternative way to return the boxes would be to bring them back to any restaurant sponsored by Deliveroo.
We did some user-testing to analyse whether people would actually adopt our design and service. Our survey started by describing the negative elements of using regular takeaway packing, then presents our design showing off the benefits of the reuse and return aspect. Finally, we ask which option they would choose between regular takeaway packaging or our SilaBox. We got a total of 22 responses, all of which answered that they would choose our SilaBox, which was a very positive and inspiring response.
I produced this advert using After Effects with digital drawings that I made on Illustrator. We wanted our advert to have a fun, quirky and comical style and appeal to students, who are big consumers of takeaways. The idea was to highlight all of the reasons why SilaBoxes are the preferable option, not just for environmental reasons.
Voice-over by James Christmas.