Thursday, July 19, 2012

Video Reflections: Giving Packaging New Life & How it's Made: Packaging

Industrial designers and the public in general are enlightened with the education of current packaging manufacture and recycle technology, which can be observed through the documentary-style video episodes from Giving Packaging New Life and How it's Made: Packaging. The two video series educate and inform its viewers of up-to-the-date technology and how it is utilised to gain the maximum efficiency from the materials produced in todays fast-consumerable world.

Specifically looking at the video episodes from Giving Packaging New Life, there are a myriad of different material recycling categories and techniques demonstrated to the audience, including paper, tetrapak, tinplate, aluminium, glass and plastics. New technologies have enabled an increase in automation, resulting in the requirement of less manual labour associated with the different stages of the recycling processes. A prime example is the worlds first automatic sorting plant in Hannover Anderten which not only stands as a symbol for design innovation, but also reduces the cost of sorting by up to 50 percent.
In taking a look at some of the recycling processes from paper to plastic, some useful statistics (retrieved from Germany) aid to inform the audience of the significance and importance of recycling in todays manufacturing world. Waste paper accounts for sixty percent of the amount of paper used to make new paper and tinplate accounts for forty percent of the raw material required for steel production. The recycling of plastics is a new innovation in the manufacture of products, as up until he 1990's plastics were incinerated or land filled as there was not the infrastructure available to recycle them. This advancement in technology has meant that in todays society, more than two-thirds of the plastic that is produced is recycled. Of the packaging produced, eighty-seven percent of aluminium packaging is recycled, while 2.7 million tonnes of waste glass are recycled each year. These figures demonstrate to the audience why recycling is so important in the contribution to the creation of new packaging; the amount of new material is significantly reduced, creating a more sustainable way of life.
Moving on to the video episodes from How it's Made: Packaging, the audience is not only shown a range of different manufacture and recycle processes, but are also given an insight into the treatment and handling of landfill. When rubbish makes its way to landfill, the process does not stop there. Energy is harvested from the methane gases produced by the decomposing waste to power turbines for the creation of electricity. The methane is also converted to liquid natural gas for the fuelling of garbage trucks that collect the waste. Although the concept of landfill is not desirable, technological discoveries and advancements have allowed the process to be tailored for the creation of a means of a self-sufficient cycle. The video gives an insight into the entire process of manufacture, from production, to recycle, to  disposing of waste.
The packagings cardboard, tubes, tetrapak, aluminium cans and glass bottles and jars are all demonstrated to the audience through the video episodes. The processes required to produce these packagings have been designed to maximise efficiency whilst minimising cost, producing packaging using the least material necessary in the fastest time possible. The most interesting fact revealed through this video series is associated with the production of aluminium tubes of paint. During manufacture, the tubes are coated on the exterior surface with a layer of polyester enamel paint, which is structured in a way that allows the paint to stay intact and crack-free when the tube is twisted and squeezed. The special properties of the paint mean that the printed writing on the product remains legible even if the product has been pushed and pulled out of shape. The series educates the audience about the different machinery and processes that occur during the different types of manufacture, giving an insight into new discoveries, new processes and a general understanding of how things are made.
Through watching the series How it's Made: Packaging and Giving Packaging New Life, the audience is able to better understand the processes associated with recycle and manufacture. Through this education, more conscious decisions can be made in terms of recycling and sustainable ways of living. The development of new technology, such as the automated recycle machines, increase the efficiency of the recycle process while reducing labour and cost, ultimately with the intention of reducing the impact that humans are having on the environment; leading us one more step to sustainability.

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