Sustainable Packaging

Sustainable Packaging

Christopher Smith

February 26, 2014

The five P’s

There is five P’s that should be considered for packaging, Presentation, protection, preservation, performance, and price. These five things play a major role in how a consumer perceives a product and how the producer of the product fairs in the market, both financially and competitively. Our society has an equal, but different stake in the situation when considering sustainability. The presentation of products matters to many individuals; in some ways it is related to the functionality and quality of the product itself. The extravagant package was fully wrapped around the product several times over, to make an individual believe it is the product of the future. The idea was a very fine tuned marketing ploy. In many ways, the package is to protect the product from damage in shipping. Many companies are looking into ways of minimizing damage so they can reduce the packaging to cut cost. Preservation is also another way to market a product. In the 60’s and 70’s double sided galvanized steel was used to maintain an automobile. Currently most steel fenders are only galvanized on the outside to give the appearance of longevity in the vehicle, but really it is meant to cut cost on production. It reminds me of the mid 90s Grand am’s now rusted from the inside out.

Performance has been a long issue in packaging an automobile. In the muscle car days of the 1960s, next came the grocery getters of the mid 1970s when the new catalectic converters were introduced. The imbalance of performance and gas mileage from the 1970s period has individuals believing that automobile seen in modern society is faster and more reliable. When comparing specifications between the two eras, many of the 60mph times are equal or faster with the 1960s automobile. Pricing of the product is not a common sense thing if you ask for too high of price individuals will not buy the product. If to little is asked, it gives an indication that the product is not made of quality. So supply and demand is not the only variable that drive prices up, the individuals interested in buying the product does as well because of perception of the price verses product.

The six R’s

Re-using a product is one step in sustainability, but re-using the packaging has emerged into thoughts of mankind. Barrowed from the World War II period, packaging has been redesigned with many companies as a marketing strategy. In the late 90’s and into the early millennium, go green was the coined phrase. During that time going green meant to throw out the old and bring in the new, although it was to help the environment. It helped to overflow the landfills.

Current strategies of re-using, helps to reduce the old way of thinking by giving an alternative way to using the packaging past the unwrapping stage of the purchase. Supermarket checkout boxes and brown bags have been replaced with recycled material bags. This helps to reduce the material and resources needed for usability while reducing the need to buy something else. The strategy has worked so good individuals are starting to refuse both brown and plastic bags. Companies have also looked into repair strategies to reduce cost and make more products available, while offering more alternatives for individuals to re-think how to deal with purchases. Companies like Best Buy, Apple, and AT&T offer buy back deals for older products. The consumer is bought into the program of needing the newest of gadgets like cell phones, but in reality the company has found ways to re-market old products for a cheaper cost to the business and the consumer to attract more customers to their product. All these scenarios help to achieve in one fashion or another the six R’s.

Cadbury® Eggs Candy

Cadbury is one company, which realized there packaging was actually working against them. In an effort to develop a well-designed package to attract a customer and protect the product during shipping, Cadbury used many layers to conceal the product and protect the product. It used many resources and added to the production cost, which inflated the cost to the customer. Raising the price of the product could risk losing customers. Going back to old style packaging could increase the loss of product in shipping. Cadbury decided to go back to the drawing board and redesign the whole package and sell it in a way that individuals could buy into it. Lessening the amount of packaging and revamping the shipping process has saved time and production cost. Marketing the new package in a way for sustainability has attracted the useful purpose of the change to help maintain the loyalty of the long time customers as well as attract new customers.

Sustainable Engineering

One area, which I believe needs to be re-thought out is automobiles. In the 70’s, there was the gas crisis. The crisis helped to bring attention to the dependency of America on Oil. Thanks to capitalism and some great marketing, most individuals do not think about this in their day-to-day lives. Then the gas crisis almost started again in the early millennium when gas soared up in prices. Overnight gas went from 1.50 a gallon to 3.00 a gallon and then to 5.00 a gallon in some areas. The gas companies blamed it on the lack of Oil as the companies made recorded profits month after month. I believe the Auto industry should re-think the production of automobiles. To combat the gas use and emissions during the 70’s restrictions and demands was made by the EPA to lessen the emission output and increase gas mileage of automobiles.

Currently the restriction and demands of the EPA has made a car that is smaller than a 1970 average car weight than the 1970 car. To be fair, I will use an automobile with similar specifications and type made by the same manufacturer, the Impala. In 1964, the impala weighed in at 3,295lbs of solid steel in the length of 209.9 inches (Old Ride, 2014). In 2014, the same car and class, the 2014 Impala weighs in at 3950lbs of solid aluminum, copper, various plastic, and rubber in a length of only 201.3 inches (Motor Trend, 2014). The packaging of the new model is great in appearance, but not the actual functionality of the vehicle. Yes they both drive; yes the new car does many more things with many more options while using emitting fewer emissions.

The point is, resources used to make the new automobile are too great. Society is reaping the lands of natural resources more than that of the mid to late 60’s. Individuals are confided to smaller cars that are made to crush and replace more parts than before in the name of safety. This all saves everyone who drives at the gas pump, so they say. 1964 averaged 15.2/18.2mpg (Automobile-Catalog, 2014) while the 2014 18/22mpg (U.S. Department of Energy, 2014). An individual can buy a fully restored 1964 Impala with custom ABS Disc brakes and an over shoulder addition for the seat belt cheaper than the 2014 Impala. This type of decision would save the environment more without the production of Bling-Bling style to go with the simple old and true of yesterday’s Chevrolet.


In conclusion, the five P’s and the six R’s affects everyone and our environment. The way individuals consume products and the way companies profit, are interconnected in many ways. Buy re-evaluating the current practice of our society as a whole, our society can progress in a way that will reduce the resource drain on the earth while still providing the products desired by society. A simple phrase that has lasted through the years is Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. These are the very foundations which society needs to follow to develop and establish a sustainable commerce to protect and preserve our environment for generations to come.


Automobile-Catalog. (2014). 1964 Chevrolet (USA) Impala Hardtop Sedan. Retrieved from

Motor Trend. (2014). First look 2014 chevrolet impala In depth. Retrieved from

Old Ride. (2014). 1964 Impala. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Energy. (2014). Fuel Economy of 2014 Chevrolet Impala. Retrieved from

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