Trials and Simulators Research in User Analysis and Sustainable Packaging Development

Trials and Simulators Research in User Analysis and Sustainable Packaging Development

Berthana Ma Salas Dominguez, Silvia Ana María Oropeza Herrera
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5234-5.ch009
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The packing sector is an area with a high consuming problem. The actual consequence is the elevated environmental impact that is developing a real problem. Everyday each home consumes a big variety of products and most of them come in a package that will be disposed of in a matter of minutes, hours, or days. They also require a massive set of structures, barriers, seals, and shock absorbers that assure the final product will be delivered in good condition to the user. Packaging esthetical design is remarkable and catch the attention of the buyer but if there is a design error the user will feel frustrated and the final purpose of a comfortable use will be lost. Incorporating ergonomics, user habits analysis, trials, and simulators in the design process and making users aware of the need of taking environmental actions can lead to a packaging design that promotes actions for a more sustainable world. The development of research methods in this area will lead to better design products.
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Current global conditions and environmental issues are themes that are part of our daily lives and a matter of concern. Climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution are not isolated elements; they are closely linked with poverty, inequity and social problems. We need to raise awareness in industry and product developers about the risks involved in the constant use of processes without sustainable practices. With the objective of developing better and innovative solutions for packaging design, the academic field in an international scope has been working and researching in packaging development integrating ergonomic and usability concepts and not just from a sustainable point of view.

The term “sustainability” commonly used today is more profound than the one used during the 80s and 90s called “green product”. A product that addresses sustainability considers consumer needs and includes profits, people, and planet earth as a whole issue. In 1987 Bruntland’s report says that “Sustainability is a concept that promotes a type of development whereby the needs of the present generation will not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, focusing on economic, environmental and social interdependence.” (Martinho, 2015:58). Speaking of packaging this statement has not been applied, most of the packages are highly polluting and can´t be easily recycled.

The WWF (World Wildlife Fund) in 2012 established that global population uses more than 50% of the resources earth can provide, (as cited in Scott & Vigar, 2014:643), when a product is used it has a considerable quantity of hidden elements that the final user cannot see, materials, manufacturing processes, merchandising, workforce, etc., in such a way that consumers are not conscious of the real impact of products used on a daily basis. Considering that packaging is one of the products more commercialized in a global level, Pousette and Löfgren (2014) establish that “Consumer packaging could be described as an “everyday product” because its contents are used in everyday life” and they mention, “the average person has approximately 30 such experiences a day with approximately 30 packages”. Therefore it is a must to make sustainability an inherent part of the design process among university students.

To fulfill this statement packaging characteristics have to be known, these have specific functions, one of the most important is preventing product loss by product protection and efficient transportation. Nevertheless to develop a sustainable packaging today has turned more into a commercial strategy for the majority of the companies than simply solving a real problem. Many times it is the consumers who demand solutions, this as part of the consumer’s practices based on ethics, which has generated that some companies try to develop innovating clean packaging. For this Stern (2000) divided the consumers who are activists and environmentalists in different subtypes, based on the behavior, the generated impact and the actions that they perform as part of their daily activities. (as cited in Paco & Gouvei, 2016:467). These environmental activists are divided in different fields, starting with the most active and ending with the traditional activist, who is the one that never takes direct actions nor thinks in the short term but simply mentions that he is interested in the topic.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Life cycle: Period of time where a product is developed, brought to the market, used, and disposed.

Ergonomic: A science that works with abilities, limitations, and requirements of users in the design of spaces or objects.

Sampling: The process of selecting a sample for testing.

Usability: Available or capable of being used.

Efficiency: Ability to accomplish a job with a minimum expenditure of time and effort.

Goniometer: Instrument for measuring solid angles.

Effectiveness: Ability to accomplish a purpose.

Biomechanics: The study of the action of external and internal forces on the living body.

Anthropometry: Measurement of size and proportions of the human body.

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