From the editor

'Pack' to the future

March 5, 2010
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Earlier this week, our sister publications SDM and Security magazines hosted their first virtual trade show. After stepping into this virtual business world, it made me wonder what else we can expect in the future, especially in the packaging realm.



Earlier this week, our sister publications SDM and Security magazines hosted their first virtual trade show. I’ve been hearing a lot about such shows lately, but have never been to one, so I decided to check this one out.

Going in, I was imagining a trade show in a Sims-like world. And as it turns out, I wasn’t too far off. You can’t create your own avatar, but there are dozens of characters to choose from. And you can’t start up pre-determined conversations with other participants, but you can chat directly with an exhibitor. The trade show hall even looks like a real location. After stepping into this virtual business world, it made me wonder what else we can expect in the future, especially in the packaging realm.

Virtual trade shows are becoming more popular because they’re convenient and save attendees money on hotels, airfare and rental cars, which in turn reduces pollution.

Likewise, sustainability keeps growing in the packaging world. I think the packaging question of the century is: How can we eliminate, or at least reduce, the amount of packaging going into landfills?

When Terracycle started making backpacks and clipboards out of used juice boxes and chip bags in 2001, it was one of the first creative ways to “upcycle” waste and keep it out of landfills.

And the solutions are likely only going to get more innovative. This year’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver featured medals made from old computers and TVs. Athletes at this summer’s World Cup will be wearing jerseys made from recycled plastic bottles. And Ecovative Design has created a material made from mushrooms that can replace polystyrene in product packaging.

Innovations like these are giving us a glimpse into the future. Imagine a world where you can’t find plastic bottles in a landfill. Instead, you’ll find them in the fabric of your clothes. Or picture wearing jewelry with a new type of gemstone made from outdated electronics.

There’s a greener world out there. And we’re fast on our way to finding it. So, what innovations have caught your interest? Have any thoughts on what’s to come?

I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years of packaging innovation will bring.

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