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Article “Cradle-to-cradle: the next packaging paradigm?” Essay

In his article “Cradle-to-cradle: the next packaging paradigm? ” David Newcorn suggests three entirely new strategies for packaging items—strategies which may at first instigate eyebrows to rise. On closer look, however, Newcorn’s suggestions may indeed live up to one of its goals: to arrive at a packaging strategy conducive for the environment.

Newcorn has three objectives in mind in order to achieve such an end: use more packaging materials, not less; design the best package possible instead of designing with the cheapest materials without worrying about per-package cost, and; ‘littering’ can help the environment. But how are these supposedly ‘environmental threats’ do the exact opposite of further degrading the environment and contribute to the crusade for the strengthening of the environment through strategic and environmentally friendly packaging schemes?

In order to arrive at a better understanding of Newcorn’s suggestions, it is equally important to note that what separates Newcorn’s suggestions from the rest is that the suggestions actually target the possibilities of the future. By offering three distinct strategies which may at first seem threatening to the environment, Newcorn turns the table around by citing examples of ‘what if’s’, possible situations which have a high probability of being real sometime in the future.

For the moment, however, the efficiency of Newcorn’s suggestions seems to hang in the balance for a few good reasons. First, Newcorn suggests that by using more packaging materials instead of less, we can actually save the environment from being harmed because sometime in the future there will be ice cream wrappers which turn into a ‘biosafe liquid’ or foam food containers which contain essential nutrients which revitalize the earth’s topsoil, for instance.

While the prospects for his suggestion are noble, it can hardly be denied that the possibilities remain to be seen. Newcorn even admits that the possibilities are yet to be obtained. If the possible elements in the illustrations he has elaborated in his article remain to be seen, then there is little reason to believe that manufacturers of these products should immediately adopt the strategies he offers. The same goes for the designers who have the same inclinations as Newcorn.

In current times, using more packaging materials or ‘littering’ the environment with these materials is only effective in theory. At the least, designers can hardly deny the fact that the current environmental measures being taken all around the world are in startling contrast to Newcorn’s suggestion precisely because the environmental problems which beset the modern societies are the result of piles and piles of garbage produced on a daily basis. What Newcorn’s suggestions give the designers, however, are insights into the future.

Although the situations he has given in his article are possibilities, they nevertheless give designers a glimpse of what the future may look like. Given these brief future sketches of packaging strategies, designers cannot simply dismiss the thought that Newcorn’s suggestions are worth the efforts of being studied. Both scholars and designers concerned in the packaging sector may very well agree that there is more than what meets the eye in Newcorn’s assumptions.

Technical and biological nutrients may indeed soon take over the packaging materials used in products. Science and technology are constantly evolving and are relentlessly seeking new methods and designs to improve the materials we use daily in the larger effort to preserve the environment. Recycling packages which may soon be eco-effective without the downside of degrading the quality of the packages for commodities is another thought worth pondering (Bendor, Terry and Kenneth, p. 175).

Newcorn, however, may be correct in insisting that a large amount of history involving packaging materials should have to be beaten first before anything else of the efforts to resort to recycling and using eco-effective packaging materials can be fully achieved. Much of what companies do in order to sustain their operations is to use whatever is cheaper and more efficient in the market. The fact that bottling companies for soft drinks have relied “less and less on bottles and more and more on cheap and recyclable aluminum cans as containers (Banks, p.

72)” suggest that money-making ventures may find it difficult to fully adjust and align their packaging strategies according to what Newcorn’s assumptions for the future. Any designer involved in the packaging sector will think that the problems which beset the environment also have consequences on their part and to the rest of the world. Newcorn’s efforts serve as a model not only for the big companies under the packaging sector but also for the average citizen. However, Newcorn’s suggestions face the direct criticism of failing to obtain in the contemporary time which is in deep need of innovations in packaging strategies.

It may be high time for designers in the packaging industry to settle down and think of other innovative ideas which will provide ways to counter and prevent environmental problems brought by wastes from packages which are also attainable in the soonest possible time. The future of the environment is indeed filled both with good prospects that are hanging and with contemporary as well as previous problems in terms of garbage from packaging materials which pose problems which cannot be easily set aside for the benefit of acquiring more profit.

It is logical enough to presume that the future does not promise anything clear. Yet it would also be absurd to assume that nothing can be done to anticipate and, hopefully, resolve the current environmental problems and the future environmental hazards both at the same time. Newcorn’s suggestions may still lack its applicability in contemporary times. However, the effects and prospects of Newcorn’s suggestions are promising and may prove to be more than useful in the coming years. WORKS CITED Banks, Seymour.

“The Measurement of the Effect of a New Packaging Material Upon Preference and Sales. ” The Journal of Business of the University of Chicago 23. 2 (Apr. , 1990): 71-80. Bendor, Jonathan, Terry M. Moe, and Kenneth W. Shotts. “Recycling the Garbage Can: An Assessment of the Research Program. ” The American Political Science Review 95. 1 (2001): 169-90. Newcorn, David. “Cradle-to-Cradle: The Next Packaging Paradigm? ” 2003. Packaging World Magazine. January 13 2008. <http://www. packworld. com/view-16013>.


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