It's being marketed as an environmentally sensitive attempt to address the 60 million plastic bottles thrown away daily in the United States. Brandimage's 360 Paper Water Bottle was a recent finalist in the ecodesign category of the Industrial Designers Society of America's International Design Excellence Awards '08.
Yet the concept from the international design firm Brandimage - Desgrippes & Laga does not abandon plastics completely — it incorporates a micro-thin layer of barrier film made from polylactic acid.
The package — in the awards submission, a 12-ounce, single-serve bottle — consists of two halves of paper sheet stock made from materials such as bamboo or palm leaves. When joined, the halves encapsulate the PLA film in an oval-shaped bottle with a flange running around the container.
In a Dec. 11 telephone interview from the firm's New York office, Jim Warner, managing director of industrial design, said he is not out to drive plastics processors out of business.
“We need PLA in the 360 bottle,” he said. “It contains the liquid and provides the barrier, but it provides no structural integrity.”
In the design, the barrier material acts as the means to fuse the two halves together. Consumers tear off the top to open the container. Instead of discarding the closure, the user peels it in half: One half contains a plug-fit side and caps the bottle; the other half gets tethered to the bottle's integral finger loop to eliminate litter.
“We think there's a positive effect in the current economic environment,” Warner said. “If there's ever an inference of waste, or an inference of spending more for something that you really didn't want [in packaging], this plays into that.”
Designers envisioned self-bundling six-packs to eliminate the use of separate carriers. For shipping and packaging, they created an all-natural structural board running between two vertical ends with snap-off stanchions to reduce materials and enable self-merchandising, he said.
Cincinnati-based Brandimage does not have a converter to mass-produce the 360 bottle, Warner said, but is in talks with potential partners.
“We're trying to find a branded home for this,” he said. To that end, Brandimage has three employees whose time largely is devoted to answering inquiries about the 360 bottle, he said.
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