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5 ways to design luxury packaging to comply with global regulation

Environmental packaging regulation differs in most regions and countries around the world. Some countries embark on a regulatory race, wanting to go further and faster than other nations within their region, and do so by employing a variety of mechanism including bans, taxes and incentives, to achieve their aims.

Our Design for Life principles for luxury packaging help businesses navigate these challenges to minimise complex and potentially expensive risks, enabling your brand the space it needs to thrive.

1. Do More with Less

It’s our strapline for a reason – less packaging on the market will lower EPR fees, lower reputational risk and lower the likelihood of you being targeted by the media and NGO’s. Many countries have set consumption and waste reduction targets, which are often weight-based. Luxury packaging tends to be heavier and with higher carbon per gram of product than any other packaging category. As a result, it faces higher packaging and carbon taxes, and minimisation requirements in Spain, China and a number of other countries.

Less packaging on the market will lower EPR fees, lower reputational risk and lower the likelihood of you being targeted by the media and NGO’s

2. Prioritise Reuse

Reuse is slowly gaining momentum, and luxury packaging is an ideal candidate. Luxury packaging is designed to be beautiful, emotive, and durable – the kind of packaging a user wants to keep. The experience of luxury is based less around timesaving and convenience, and more around personal service, indulgence, and exclusivity. Customers want to come into the store, talk about the brand, and demonstrate brand loyalty. Reusable packaging scales with investment from the brand, but also from user buy-in; something the luxury sector has in abundance.

3. Design for Disassembly / Recyclability

The composition of luxury packaging varies wildly from brand-to-brand, with each telling a unique story through the objects that their artists design. This can lead to multi-material formats with high-impact components and finishes. Some packs that look simple can, in fact, comprise of 20 to 30 different components. This, combined with the application of metallisation and spot gloss UV, makes otherwise recyclable material unrecyclable.

Recyclers want simple, uncontaminated material streams. This is why it’s so important to challenge designers to build in structural simplicity to mono-material packaging. Luxury brands need to inspire their designers to innovate responsibly, ensuring new designs meet recycling requirements across a range of geographic markets.

Designing your packaging to be compatible with MRFs is crucial for short term compliance with EPR, reducing fees for you and your clients and achieving long-term compliance with Chinese and European design for recycling regulation. All packaging in the EU will need to be designed for recycling by 2030 to be allowed to be placed on the market.

Luxury brands need to inspire their designers to innovate responsibly, ensuring new designs meet recycling requirements across a range of geographic markets

4. Design for Purpose

Every component, material and aspect of your luxury packaging must serve a functional purpose. If it doesn’t it might be considered excessive or not essential to the sale of the product. Is a tassel or applicator or shive critical? Do you need a double wall jar, and can you remove the deceiving insert in a carton that makes a small product appear larger than it really is? Regulators around the world are categorising an increasing number of design techniques as ‘unnecessary ‘or ‘excessive’. Stay one step ahead and remove anything superfluous.

5. Design with Metrics in Mind

At a group level, many sustainability related KPIs tend to fall into the carbon reduction or plastic reduction category. These KPIs can become impactful communication pieces, but can also drive knee-jerk changes. It is often the case that reducing one will increase the other, for example the carbon cost of 1kg of virgin aluminium is 13x more than 1kg of virgin HDPE. The problem caused by this paradox will be exacerbated in the coming years as eco-modulation begins to factor in carbon intensity, penalising high-carbon materials. To meet your KPI’s in a future-fit and policy resilient way, a tailored strategy of reduction, redesign, and innovative thinking is required.

How can you keep up to date with policy changes?

To tackle the challenge of policy-proof packaging, it’s critical you are clear on the landscape and boundaries they are operating within. Root’s regulatory support services allow you to do just that. Why not request a demo below.