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Sustainable Packaging is a Moving Vehicle

There are two types of situations where jumping into a moving vehicle occurs. One is the elegant transition from opening the door to your Kia and sitting inside of the vehicle as the clear driver in control. The other, more often depicted in the alliterative box office smash series of films (hint: FF), is when the speed and situation are a bit more dire.

Allow us to explain this metaphor further through the example of some work we’ve done with our amazing client, Hydro Flask:

What it means to be sustainable is changing at an ever increasing velocity. Here are a few of the largest factors to consider when attempting to jump through the driver’s side window of this rapidly moving vehicle:

  1. There are newer, more responsible materials making an appearance almost every month, if not every quarter. Many of these new materials are looking for scale and use cases with brands that have a meaningful story to share.

  2. There are new ways of thinking, like Rab’s approach to plastics, not as evil, but as materials to keep out of the consumer’s hands. See our panel discussion at Outdoor Retailer January of 2022 for more detail.

  3. There are fresh designs, from printing methods to structural changes, a redesigned package structure can create a dramatic improvement in your carbon footprint.

  4. And, there are new systems to help identify where and how to recycle a package, or ways to keep materials only in the areas where they can be recycled.

Our Hydro Flask story starts with research and design back in early 2017. We had conducted research on consumer behavior and the competitive environment, a 1000 lb gorilla known as Yeti had entered the water flask space. Our client, Hydro Flask needed to keep their position on the shelf, have harder working packaging and more responsible solutions.

Our next packaging iteration, started in early 2020 and completed in January of 2021, focused on moving the package along the spectrum of sustainability. By looking at the printing process, types of materials, FSC recyclable paperboard, soy inks, and use of poly bags, the new design solutions worked to advance the responsibility of Hydro Flask packaging and their earth-friendly brand promise.

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This packaging update is an example of a brand capable of and motivated to jump into a movement moving fast enough that many others are unwilling to even attempt to catch up with it. Responsible packaging takes effort beyond what merely looks like a simpler solution when viewed on the shelf.

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Like diving through the sliding door of a moving minivan, it looks easy until you try it. Do it wrong and, well, we’ve seen what that looks like. The best way to stick the dive is practice and working with a package design/stunt team that has gone through these motions before.

Consumers, retailers and the general public aren't seeking perfection from the brands they buy, instead, they prefer progress, movement and momentum in a positive direction. There are always new and better avenues to explore, you just have to get in the car and drive.

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