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Eco-friendly LED Lightbulb Package Redesign Proposal

Redesigning LED Packaging (12)

By Elizabeth Sanchez.

We are really into this eco-friendly packaging proposal by University of Michigan graduate  Bryant Yee. His LED light bulb packaging has a smorgasbord of eco-conscious features. We would not explain it better than the creator himself so here Yee describes the various sustainable aspects of his proposal.

In the next decade, the application of LED bulbs will become increasingly widespread due to their increased energy efficiency and the absence of toxic metals in their construction. Although the price for an ~800-lumen LED bulb is quite expensive when compared to an incandescent or CFL bulb, the energy savings over the lifetime of the bulb are significant. While LED bulbs clearly have many advantages, their packaging presents numerous problems including excessive use of plastic clamshell and complicated typographical information.

The first problem with the packaging is that it is made out of plastics, which are primarily manufactured from oil and natural gas, which are both non-renewable resources. Additionally, nearly all of the molecules that plastic factories have produced for decades are still with us and will remain present for centuries. Plastics litter the landscape and the oceans; they break into microscopic particles and enter the food chain. To reduce materials and waste during production, the assembly of this packaging design requires no glue and is constructed from 100% post consumer recycled paper that is manufactured carbon neutral. Also, this design promotes a system where consumers can easily send their incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs to a recycling facility as the package also serves as a prepaid return-shipping container. To increase utility while maintaining structural rigidity, the inside of the box holds an innovative paper design. This design can quickly transform to fit any bulb placed back inside of it, while protecting it from being crushed during transport.

In addition to new regulations regarding bulb packaging, starting in mid-2011, the Federal Trade Commission announced that new laws regarding the labeling of light bulb packaging would commence. The new labeling requirements will promote consumer education by clearly displaying information that will help them select the most efficient bulbs that best suits their lighting needs. The label on the front of the package will emphasize the bulbs’ brightness as measured in lumens, as watts are a measurement of energy use, not brightness. Finally, new labeling will also display the estimated yearly energy cost for the respective bulb. These changes in information presentation will be key drivers in helping consumers make educated purchasing decisions as they transition to more energy-efficient types of bulbs while contributing to the overall increase in the adoption and promotion of sustainability.

All of that is wonderful of course, but he fails to mention the aesthetic aspects of his project and that upsets me! It upsets me because the design has some awesome things going on. First of them being the very cool way the packages stack together…even the packages of different sizes can fit together like puzzle pieces. The puzzle-ness not only makes for an interesting display but it allows for no wasted space. The natural paper color and minimal ink reiterates the earth-friendly spirit of the product (and probably is earth-friendly itself.) Lastly, the information on the package is clear and concise; 1 circle equals one light bulb, two equal two lightbulbs etc.

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Elizabeth Sanchez
Blogger about Packaging Design Trends. An advocate of new, fun packaging designs and prototypes. Supporting creative packaging designs worldwide.