Breaking The Packaging is a book about the packaging fundamentals. It is a wonderful inside into the whole world of packaging in one book, supported by images, illustrations, diagrams, graphs and tables.
There has been no book about the basics of packaging as a general term until now. That is even more surprising because we as humans need only a couple of things to survive; air, water, sunlight, food, shelter, and packaging. Correct, packaging is also one of the key pillars of our society.
Everything we use in our daily lives is packed, yet we know so little about it. Without packaging, we would still gather food and hunt most of our days. Without it, the cities we know would not develop and exist. It’s time we shed light on what packaging is all about.
I have been working in the packaging industry for the past two decades, and because I see so many misinterpretations of what packaging really is, I decided to write a book about it. The formation of the book started in 2016. My key goal was to present the whole packaging complexity in a simple, illustrative form so that everyone could understand the topic. Everyone must understand the basics of packaging; consumers, businesses and legislators. That is why I have created a book that pulls the reader into the world of packaging and does that in a witty and straightforward way. The book does not judge. The book provides everyday examples of all the good, bad and ugly of the packaging world.
Packaging has indeed become an enormous global pollutant. The increase in population, the increased consumerism, and insufficient waste management methods have all contributed to packaging having a significant impact on our environment. Mainstream media is full of bulletin news of packaging pollution all around us, and the packaging does have a nasty side. However, we need packaging to survive. Can you imagine how people in New York, London, Shanghai, or any city, large or small, would survive without packaging? Just think of the basics like water and food. The majority of people in the cities worldwide drink bottle packed water, and how would these millions of people get food without being correctly packaged and delivered?
Breaking The Packaging creates a bridge between the needed use of packaging and the immediate need to address the environmental packaging issues. Breaking The Packaging is a complete book of packaging covering all the angles required to know to understand the packaging. I have started creating the book to help businesses understand the packaging better. However, through these creative years, I have received many requests from people from all walks of life; they would all like to know more about the packaging.
Packaging is all around us. We do notice some of it; however, most of the packaging products and materials are passing us by without noticing it. Packaging products are so embedded into our lives that they have become (a crucial) part of our lives. Products that we take for granted are all securely packed so that we can receive them in pristine condition.
However, most packaging products and materials go through our lives completely unnoticed (somehow, we all notice the scale of it on Christmas, don’t we?). For each product you brought home, and it is packed, there are probably more than ten more packaging items that have been used in the process of delivery from the production line to your home. Simple examples help understand the complexity behind the delivery of any product to the point of use.
The increase in consumer power is boosting every aspect of our society. Consumerism is closely connected to the use of packaging, and as such grew, is growing and will grow. So will the packaging products in the market, and we will be generating more and more waste. We all understand that. The packaging industry has started to react and is delivering new solutions which are somehow rarely applied. The gap between what is needed to have a more sustainable packaging and actual application is increasing. The reason is that packaging has become much more than just packaging.
Packaging became a marketing tool. The retail packaging is full of imagery and clever designs, and the packaging designers are using every trick in the book to get our attention. Shapes, colours, promising images and graphics are pulling us in and like it or not, we react to the messages delivered. In the last decade, we have witnessed a new form of marketing activities to help and sell more products; environmental and sustainable messages are bombarding us at every step.
All of it wouldn’t be such a problem if it weren’t for one thing missing. The chase to become more visible and better perceived often comes with a price of packaging performance. The packaging had, has and will always have the same objectives.
It is rarely thought about how important packaging is for our civilisation. In these strange times, media is boosting the ugly side of packaging – pollution, which is a huge problem that we need to fix. However, the media frenzy never points out how important packaging is for… well, for anything. There is no chance that we would be able to develop from hunter-gatherers to what we are today if we wouldn’t come up with packaging products.
The primary packaging objectives have remained the same from the beginning. However, the approach to covering the objectives has been changing with the development of industrial capabilities. Industrialisation has been delivering better, lighter and more effective packaging products and materials throughout history.
Not only that packaging help us to develop into the global society we are today, but it also played an important role in many of the historical events of our civilisation, and I strongly believe it will continue to do so. How do you think that folks will get to space, Mars and beyond? Packed, of course.
Plastic bottle. Box. Pallet. Soda Can. These are the first things popping in people’s minds when they think of packaging materials. However, there are thousands of packaging products deriving from the primary packaging raw materials. When we use packaging, we are easily fooled about what type of packaging it is. The main reason is that all raw packaging bases do have limitations to their use. The packers combine different packaging products and materials to ensure that the products packed are not damaged until their use.
The packaging objectives can be achieved with multiple packaging materials. These can stand as individual packaging items. However, the packaging product often consists of multiple packaging materials, which is where it becomes really puzzling. The packaging awareness is at a deficient level, and we simply do not know how to handle the complexity of the packaging. The result is pollution and enormous piles of packaging waste.
Arguably the most important packaging aspect did become sustainability. Since this is a relatively new term in our focus domain, we know little about it. Due to the increase in the generation of packaging waste, we have noticed that it could be that we are doing something wrong. Every corner of the planet became tainted with packaging waste in one form or another, from visible packaging pollution to invisible particles diluted in our water stream and soil. The list is endless. Packaging management is poor.
However, we cannot abandon packaging. With the population growing and shifting towards the urban environment, the truth is that we will use more and not less packaging. This means that we do need to do something about it. As a crucial segment of our civilisation, we need to start managing packaging (packaging through the whole cycle, not just waste packaging). Packaging is far from only a pollutant. It is also one of the most straightforward solutions with our strive towards full sustainability. Appropriate packaging can overcome many of the world’s problems.
There are ways how to approach the packaging problem. Everything starts with the packers of the products. These could be product manufacturers, packers, wholesalers, retailers, or consumers. The push towards sustainability has shuffled the deck, and today’s packaging formation has become a hectic ordeal for anyone involved. The sheer volume of products in the market pushes everyone to pack faster and pack cheaper. This results in poorer packaging solutions, more waste, more losses of resources and products. It seems as everything is upside down from where it should be.
Interestingly enough, I know the manufacturers of products are trying to optimise packaging and get the most reliable solutions applied to their products. However, somewhere down the (supply) line, it all goes pear shape. The packaging concept falls apart, and we are left with a far too high waste rate. There is a way to overcome that, and it is by simplifying the approach to the packaging concepts.
The fast pace of life is continually changing our environment. With all the digitalisation around us, it is incredible how little has been done to improve how we use and perceive packaging. Mainstream media is constantly giving us alarming reports on global warming and pollution, yet very rarely report on the potential fixes to the problem. Thankfully the number of environmental activists is increasing and can push the message through social media into the public eye. Unfortunately, educational systems are prolonged to adopt the curriculum, but changes are slowly visible, to be fair. Kids are starting to learn about the basics of environmental protection. I must admit I do miss the shift towards a more constructive approach to packaging topics.
The important step we all need to make is to start understanding the packaging topics a lot better. It is not only on the ugly side of things, but it is also much more important to know the benefits of appropriate packaging to our society. With such understanding, we all will be able to demand better packaging products from the manufacturers better handling of the packaging by everyone involved within the life cycle of any product or material.
Believe it or not: it’s the first simple book about packaging. The book is written based on two decades of hands-on experiences. It dismantles the packaging complexity into sizeable chunks and restructures the packaging world into a simple overview of what packaging is.
Who should read this book: everyone!
- Consumers will appreciate the secrets hidden in the packaging materials and the know-how to handle them.
- Children will gain an important platform for their future which will be more sustainable.
- Businesses will understand how to handle the packaging and create sustainable growth.
- Manufacturers have an opportunity to see the complete bottom line of the packaging used.
- Logistics will be able to optimise their processes based on better communication.
- Media will know how to present relevant stories with more in-depth expertise.
- Activists will present their cases from multiple angles and describe the problems in the broader sense.
- Language: English
- Form: 15 chapters
- Volume: 432 pages (with lots of graphics and imagery)
- Size: 165 mm x 235 mm (6.5 in x 9.25in), 1,34kg (0.75 lbs)
- Author: Mitja Brgant