Exhibit Showcases Sustainable Alternatives to wasteful Product Packaging

Rebecca Hanelt, left, and Chantelle Calitz, VIU Graphic Design students, showcase their environmentally sustainable packaging redesigns during the art exhibit Unwrapped at The View Gallery.

Rebecca Hanelt, left, and Chantelle Calitz, VIU Graphic Design students, showcase their environmentally sustainable packaging redesigns during the art exhibit Unwrapped at The View Gallery. Vancouver Island University Photo

November 19, 2019 - 2:00pm

VIU Graphic Design students display consumer-conscious packaging during Unwrapped at The View Gallery, on until December 1.

Is product packaging nothing but beautiful garbage?

It’s a question Nancy Pagé, a Vancouver Island University (VIU) Graphic Design Professor, posed to her third-year Package Studio students. Then she issued a challenge – redesign an existing product’s packaging so it is more ecologically responsible.

“Designers have a chance to make an impact in the way a product is packaged, reused and eventually recycled,” says Pagé, adding that students need to work through a multitude of challenges to harmonize the need of containing, protecting and displaying a product and minimizing environmental impact.

The students each chose one product and created more environmentally sustainable versions of the packaging. Their creations are now on display during the Unwrapped exhibit at The View Gallery, located in Building 330 at the Nanaimo campus.

One of the exhibiting students, Chantelle Calitz, chose to redesign a Cafe Plus Coffee Syrups gift set. The original design has four plastic bottles in a large box with a clear plastic insert in the front so people can see the syrups.

Calitz initially toyed with the idea of creating seaweed pouches for the syrup because they are 100% biodegradable, tasteless and odourless. However, because syrup is so sticky she thought it might be too messy and went with milk cartons instead. The cartons can be recycled and fit snugly inside a small cardboard tray.

“Instead of encasing everything in a big cardboard box that used a lot of materials and was environmentally irresponsible, I chose to make the bottles be the only packaging you really need,” she says.

Calitz says consumers can make an impact.

“Right now, when you go to a store you are bombarded with a million different products. You have a choice to pick something that is a bit more environmentally friendly. I would encourage people to pursue that,” says Calitz.

Rebecca Hanelt, who is also displaying her work during Unwrapped, agrees that consumers have the power to make a difference. Hanelt is passionate about the environment and practices conscious consumption in her daily life, only buying items from vintage stores and thrift shops. Over the last year, she hasn’t purchased any items made from new materials.

“Just be super conscious of when you’re buying products and know it does make an impact. You are one person, but it can make a huge difference if you keep on with it,” she says.

Hanelt redesigned a Juicy Couture product. She wanted to show that you could create a design that was environmentally conscious while still maintaining the high-end branding. She says the opportunity to showcase her product, which she worked so hard on, during the art exhibit is an “awesome experience.”

Unwrapped, sponsored by ARC Document Solutions, runs until December 1 at The View Gallery, which is open Tuesday to Friday from noon to 4 pm.

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MEDIA CONTACT: 

Rachel Stern, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.740.6560 l  C: 250.618.0373 l E: Rachel.Stern@viu.ca | T: @VIUNews


Tags: Art and Design | The View Gallery | Announcements


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