The packaging industry has become reliant on multi-material design. Take the beverage carton, for example, This seemingly simple pack design is made up of paperboard, plastic, and aluminium, fused together to create an impermeable container that protects against oxygen and light.
While the design is ideal for consumer convenience and the protection of the product within, the composite nature of the packaging makes it almost impossible to recycle. Even if it is recycled the materials will be damaged during separation and downcycled into pellets of far less value. More often than not the packaging will head straight to landfill.
This design practice has permeated many industries, from crisp packets and sandwich boxes, to lipstick containers and fragrance bottles, meaning many valuable resources are being lost after just one use. Luckily, a new focus is emerging in the form of monomaterial packaging - using just one type of material for the entire pack, allowing it to be more easily recovered and reused.
Many brands are opting for plastic in their transition to monomateriality - a choice that doesn't overcome plastic's low recycling rate - but others are looking to more traditional materials that have scaled, efficient, and global systems of capture, reuse, and recycling. Discover five brands that are committed to making one material fit all.