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The Influence of Packaging Design Features on Consumers' Purchasing & Recycling Behaviour

The influence of packaging design features on consumers’
purchasing & recycling behaviour
Iris Borgman*1, Maaike Mulder-Nijkamp*1, Bjorn de Koeijer1
1 Department of Design, Production and Management, Faculty of Engineering Technology,
University of Twente. Drienerlolaan 5, 7522 NB Enschede, The Netherlands
Abstract: This paper describes an empirical study to determine the influence of specific
design elements of sustainable packaging on consumer behaviour during purchase and
recycling. Existing studies show that the visual appearance of packaging design
influences the behaviour of consumers. The results of this study show that decisions
made by consumers regarding the packaging are mostly based on graphics and to a lesser
extent on information and form. Furthermore, a sustainable form and information
regarding sustainability also have the highest utility, which indicates that these cues are
able to trigger a higher buying intention. According the results on recycling behaviour, it
is unclear if recycling logos and a stimulating text have an impact on recycling intention
of consumers.
Keywords: packaging design, packaging development, sustainability, purchase
behaviour, recycling behaviour, marketing.
1. Introduction
Consumers open, on average, more than seven packages a day (Crowe, 2003) which are
usually thrown away directly after use. Consequently, packaging waste has become a symbol
of the throwaway society (Anonymous, 2013), unavoidably adding to our environmental
impact (Magnier & Schoormans, 2015). Therefore, it is logical for companies to introduce
sustainable packages (Magnier & Schoormans, 2015). Besides environmental concern, this
causes financial and strategic rewards as efficient production lowers costs and leads to
profitability (QuadPackaging, 2018). Within this trend consumers are very important actors.
The visual appearance of a package has great influence on their behaviour during (1) the
processes of making conscious sustainable purchasing decisions and (2) sorting packaging
waste after usage. Regarding purchase, consumers evaluate packaging as positive when it
contains elements that communicate eco-friendliness. However, only a few studies specifically
focus on the influence of those design elements on consumer behaviour (Magnier & Crie,
2015; Steenis, Van Herpen, van der Lans, Ligthart, & van Trijp, 2017). According to these
studies product choice is clearly influenced by environmental aspects of the packaging
(Magnier & Crie, 2015; Rokka & Uusitalo, 2008) but it is not clarified how these aspects
influence their behaviour and how packaging designers should use this knowledge.
**Correspondence to: Iris Borgman, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands. E-mail: Maaike
Mulder-Nijkamp, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands. E-mail:
Regarding the recycling process, prior research has mainly focused on recycling habits of
consumers and to a lesser extent on the link between consumer behaviour and packaging
design. However, the design can have an important influence on how a package is sorted and
eventually processed (Buelow, Lewis, & Sonneveld, 2010). Herein we want to focus again on
the influence of specific design elements.
This paper aims to bridge the gap between packaging design and consumer behaviour during
purchase and recycling of sustainable packaging. We specifically aim to seek knowledge which
is applicable for designers. A theoretical analysis provides an overview of current literature
combining behavioural sciences with design research. Since purchasing and recycling are
separate processes, the former process is discussed first followed by the latter. Based on (the
gaps in) the literature, combinations of design elements are analysed with a conjoint analysis
which provides more in-depth research into specific elements of the design. The most effective
elements are integrated into packaging designs which are tested by consumers in a realistic
setting, providing insight in more realistic purchasing and recycling behaviour. A comparable
test setup has not yet been conducted among existing studies on this subject.
2 Combining Design Research with Behavioural Research
According to literature on purchase behaviour consumers lack knowledge on the concept of
sustainability (Lindh, Olsson, & Williams, 2016; Nordin & Selke, 2010; Steenis et al., 2017).
They find it difficult to differentiate between sustainable and non-sustainable packaging, since
it is almost impossible for them to determine the environmental status of a package(Magnier &
Schoormans, 2015). Their judgements regarding the sustainability of the packaging are clearly
dominated by material-related considerations (Lindh et al., 2016; Magnier & Schoormans,
2015; Steenis et al., 2017; Young, 2008). One of the key challenges for packaging designers is
to design sustainable packaging that is acceptable to consumers, while considering that the
levels of sustainability for consumers are not always aligned with actual sustainability of the
materials (Steenis et al., 2017). This stresses the importance that packaging communicates an
understandable and reliable message with regard to environmental issues and clearly signals it
is sustainable (Jerzyk, 2016; Magnier & Schoormans, 2015). Studies have found packaging
features which convey eco-friendliness in consumers’ opinions based on three attributes of the
packaging: form/structure, graphics and on-package information. This is shown in Table
1(Magnier & Crie, 2015). While using such environmental cues, it is important to maintain
congruency between for instance a verbal claim and the graphical design, otherwise it may lead
to perceived greenwashing. If a package has an ecological look, verbal sustainability claims
can highlight certain visual elements in order to increase its persuasive impact (Magnier &
Schoormans, 2015).
Table 1: Packaging features that convey eco-friendliness
Structure/form Less material Recycled/recyclable materials Reusable package
Graphics Brown, green, white Nature imagery
Information Environmental claims Environmental logos Labels from environmental
Regarding literature on recycling behaviour attributes of the packaging design are used to
promote or influence recycling behaviour. Among these attributes labels, such as recycling
symbols, are the most common approach to increase consumers’ recycling behaviour(Buelow
et al., 2010). This information alone however, does not necessarily translate into actual
recycling(Geiger, Ünal, Van der Werff, & Steg, forthcoming; Pancer, McShane, & Noseworthy,
2015). Also, the link between sustainable packaging and recycling behaviour is critical since
perceived sustainability is a mediator of recycling behaviour. In other words, a packaging has
to be perceived as sustainable by an individual before being willing to recycle it (Geiger et al.,
forthcoming; Ruepert, Keizer, & Steg, 2017).
To summarise, all studies show that the visual appearance of packaging design influences the
behaviour of consumers. We are searching for a link between design and behaviour and more
specifically looking at the role of several cues aimed at purchase intention and recycling
behaviour. Thus providing packaging designers with applicable information to work with.
3 Methods
We conducted an empirical study to determine the influence of the design of sustainable
packaging on purchasing and recycling behaviour. The study was split into three parts: a pre-
study and two main parts. Part one focused on the influence of packaging features on several
factors related to purchase and recycling intention. In order to determine the stimuli for this
study, a pre-study was performed. Part two used the outcomes of part one to test purchasing
and recycling intention in a realistic supermarket setting.
3.1 Pre-study
At first, we conducted a qualitative pre-study among a small group of 20 respondents (55%
female, Mage=26.7) using an online ranking tool. The stimuli were composed by images of a
bottle of water, which varied in three categories of packaging cues: the graphical design of the
label (graphics), information or certification on sustainability (information) and the form and
structure of the bottle (form). This to be able to analyse specific elements of the packaging
design. For each of the three categories 8-10 designs were made based on packaging features
which convey eco-friendliness among consumers (also see Table 1). For each category, a
baseline design was chosen, which is based on existing water bottles and can be seen as
conventional and recognizable. The other designs were meant to be more sustainable-looking,
but this was not communicated to the respondents. To keep the designs identical and to prevent
noise from other design aspects which are not meant to influence the results, only certain
aspects of the packaging were manipulated for each category. The scheme of form let the bottle
differ in overall shape and structure. Only the bottle itself was displayed without a label, since
the placing and size is dependent on the form and variation can have an influence on the look
and salience of the different designs. The graphics scheme of the label differed in colours,
imagery and slightly in logo if this was necessary to remain a stable and good-looking design.
In the information scheme, the bottles and label were identical for each design and information
or certification was placed either on an additional label on the upper part of the bottle or added
to the main label.
3.1.1 Results and discussion pre-study
Respondents ranked the three categories of designs twice, first according to buying intention
and secondly according to sustainability perception. For each category the most sustainable and
a neutral design were obtained. The latter was composed by the least sustainable features.
Purchase intention was taken into account, meaning that the designs with the highest and
lowest positions on sustainability, at least had an average buying intention to make sure that the
full profile design is realistic in the sense that people are willing to buy it. Participants stated
similar remarks about certain designs. In terms of the graphics, the colours green and brown
and nature imagery were consistently perceived as sustainable. However, in the case of water
bottles many participants claimed they would not associate the product in combination with
green and especially not with brown. Rather they would expect the colour blue. This indicates
that people expect a certain congruency between the packaging and its content (Van Rompay &
Pruyn, 2011). Simply designing a green or brown packaging will not work for every packaging
as the combination with the product inside may cause confusion and lack of appeal. The pre-
study resulted in the graphical, informational and form features for the most sustainable and a
neutral design. These are shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Resulting features of the graphics, information and form scheme
2.3 Part one
A full profile conjoint analysis was conducted to identify which of the resulting features from
the pre-study were dominant. For each of the three factors (graphics, information, form) were
two possibilities: a sustainable and a neutral design. This resulted in a 2x2x2 conjoint design
with eight profiles as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Designs for the conjoint analysis
*Prices are only included in the second last question of the survey
The full profiles were used in an online survey where the main part consisted of five rankings
of the eight bottles, each based on different subjects: buying intention, recycling intention,
appeal, reliability of the producer and sustainability. Respondents were asked to rank the
bottles from one to eight, with one the highest and eight the lowest. The following section
requested respondents to choose which of the eight bottles they would most likely buy when
the price was added and they were requested to indicate why. The last section contained a
question where respondents had to allocate a total of 100 points to characteristics of a bottle of
water, according to importance. These were the following characteristics: colour/design of the
label, form/design of the bottle, sustainability of the bottle, price, reliability of the producer,
recyclability and ‘other’ which could be filled in by the respondent. Each question in the
survey was mandatory with exception of the explanation after the question which showed the
bottles with prices added.
2.4 Part two
Part two of the study used the outcomes of the conjoint analysis to test buying intention (1) and
recycling intention (2) among supermarket1 customers. The bottles with the highest and lowest
utility according to the conjoint analysis were produced as physical bottle and we asked
customers about their purchase intention based on those. We expected that the bottle with the
highest utility would trigger the highest purchase intention. In order to test recycling intention,
we handed out plastic cups filled with flavoured water and let customers taste the water. They
were told where the bins were located but they did not receive an instruction to recycle the
cups. The cups were filled with two variants of water with fresh ingredients: mint & lime and
mango & orange. This allowed us to test two types of cues: one with recycling info and one
without. The mint & lime wrapper contained the text “recycle me” in Dutch along with logos
from the ‘Waste Pointer2. The text stimulates to recycle and the logos show where the several
parts of the packaging and waste should be thrown away. The wrappers are shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: The orange wrapper resembles the green wrapper, but without recycling cues or logos. The
green wrapper contains recycling logos at the left and right and extensions with the text ‘recycle me’.
After consumption of the flavoured water, the wrapper had to be thrown into paper waste, any
residue of the ingredients into organic waste and the cup into plastic waste. To facilitate this, a
recycling bin with separate compartments for plastic, organic and residual waste and an extra
conventional bin with one compartment for residual waste were located close to the stand. The
extra bin was added, because with only a recycling bin, this may stimulate recycling intention
already whereas the recycling intention should be stimulated by the packaging cues. After
execution of the test, the bins were checked to indicate if the cups were discarded correctly and
if there was any difference between the two designs. We expected that the recycling rates of the
mint & lime cups would be higher than those of the mango & orange cups.
1 The test was executed at an Albert Heijn supermarket in the city of Hengelo, The Netherlands.
2 In the Netherlands the guideline ’Weggooiwijzer’ (waste pointer) has been set up by the Netherlands Institute for Sustainable
Packaging (KIDV) to help packaging producers with the application of logos which instruct consumers how to throw away
their packaging.
3 Results and Discussion
3.1 Part one
The survey was completed by 73 respondents (47,9% female). The results of the rankings are
partly presented in Table 2, showing the rankings on appeal and recycling intention. Many
surveys were not finished by respondents, which might have been caused by the repetitive
character of the rankings. However, the number of finished surveys is suitable to analyse the
results. Furthermore, the outcomes of the survey are tested again during part two of the study
which confirms the results. The correlations for all rankings are acceptable, as they show that
predictions based on the conjoint analysis largely correlate with actual choices people make.
For all rankings, the blue label and on-bottle information have the highest utility, which is
according to our expectation. According to the rankings on recycling and reliability, the
conventional form has the highest utility, whereas the minimalistic form has the highest utility
for appeal, sustainability and buying intention. Figure 4 shows the mentioned designs.
Table 2: Utility scores of the features per ranking as well as the importance values of the factors
(graphics, info and form)
Ranking appeal Ranking recycling
Factor Level Utility
Std. error Importance
Green 1.007 0.242 39.453 0.541 0.229 46.804
Blue 2.014 0.483 1.082 0.459
Info OnLabel 0.801 0.242 30.573 0.712 0.229 29.002
OnBottle 1.603 0.483 1.425 0.459
Form Minimalistic -0.219 0.242 29.975 0.048 0.229 24.194
Conventional -0.438 0.483 0.096 0.459
Constant 2.116 0.639 2.548 0.607
Correlations Value Sig. Value Sig.
Pearson’s R 0.938 0.000 0.890 0.002
Kendall’s tau 0.786 0.003 0.714 0.007
1. 2. 3. 4.
Figure 4: Blue label (1), OnBottle information (2), Minimalistic form (3), Conventional form (4)
The minimalistic form and on-bottle information were the sustainable designs of the form and
information according to the pre-test. For graphics the green label was the more sustainable
variant, however in the rankings the neutral looking blue design was pointed out as most
sustainable of the two which is therefore not as expected. This could be explained by the fact
that the label contains nature imagery and shows more congruency with water, which can
trigger a more natural feeling. According to the importance values in Table 2, graphics clearly
matter the most (average of 44,462), followed by information (average of 29,809) and form
(average of 25,729). Regarding the ranking on appeal and sustainability there is no significant
difference between the importance values of information and form. The minimalistic form has
the highest utility for these rankings as well as the ranking on buying intention, which are
important subjects for purchase behaviour. For these reasons the combination of the blue label,
on-bottle information and minimalistic form is identified as the profile with the highest utility.
Similarly, the combination of the green label, on-label information and conventional form is
identified as the profile with the lowest utility. The designs are shown in Figure 5.
According to the question including a price the combination of a blue label, on-label
information and minimalistic form was chosen most (21 times), followed by a blue label, on-
label information and conventional form (15 times) and a blue label, on-bottle information and
minimalistic form (12 times). Buying intention thus seems to be greatest for the blue label, on-
label information and minimalistic form, which is not fully in line with the utility scores from
the rankings. The blue label and minimalistic form also have the highest utility according to the
rankings, whereas on-bottle information has a higher utility than on-label information.
1. 2.
Figure 5: The designs with the highest utility (1) and the lowest utility (2).
This may be due to the fact that the bottles with on-bottle information were 14 cents more
expensive than the ones with on-label information.
In the last question respondents had to allocate a total of 100 points to several attributes of a
bottle of water according to importance. Price was seen as the most important attribute (mean
of 27 points), followed by form/design of the bottle (mean of 21 points) and sustainability and
recyclability (both a mean of 14 points). According to these results, the form and design of the
bottle is an important feature as evaluated by consumers, but when judging bottles during the
rankings the form was of lesser importance than graphics and information. This may be due to
the assumption that consumers point out other aspects as important than the aspects that matter
when making an actual choiche. The results of this study show that decisions made by
consumers regarding the packaging are mostly based on graphics and to a lesser extent on
information and form. Eventhough they think form is very important, the results of their actual
judgements show otherwise. When product prices are included price seems only to have an
influence on the informational feature whereas the graphics and form are chosen similar to the
highest utility.
3.3 Part two
In total, 200 cups were served to customers and 96 of them gave their opinion about the bottles.
It had not been possible to ask all 200 customers to give their opinion on the designs of the
bottles, since some of them were in a hurry or only picked up a cup and moved on. The bottle
with the lowest utility (2) was picked 18 times and the bottle with the highest utility (1) was
picked 78 times (Figure 5). Thus, design 1 is also in favour as physical bottle in a realistic
setting, according to our expectation. After execution of the test the cups and wrappers were
counted and 136 cups were found back in the recycling bin and 15 in the conventional bin. The
other cups could not be located and had presumably been thrown in another bin in the
supermarket or had been taken outside the supermarket. This resulted in the following
numbers, see Table 3. Most cups were thrown in PMD with many wrappers still attached. The
plastic cups themselves were thus thrown away correctly in contrast to the wrappers. Near the
end of the test the PMD compartment contained many cups and some were sticking out of the
bin. Seeing other cups with wrappers in this compartment may have triggered following
customers to throw their cup in there as well without removing the wrapper. Looking at the two
variants of wrappers the orange version was found more in general and also has a slightly
higher recycling rate as these were thrown more into paper waste, which is in contrast to what
was expected.
Table 3: Results of the bin counting
Orange wrapper Green wrapper Cups
Waste stream Cup incl.
Total Cup incl.
Total Cup exc.
Paper 0 14 14 2 8 10 6 8
PMD* 30 17 47 30 13 43 58 118
Residual 3 1 4 3 1 4 4 10
Conventional bin 8 0 8 7 0 7 0 0
Total 41 32 73 42 22 64 68 136
*PMD = Plastic, Metal and Drink cartons
However, some wrappers fell off the cups and customers picked it up, after which they threw it
into paper waste. It may be possible that by accident more orange wrappers fell off than green
ones which explains why more orange wrappers were found in paper waste. It is also unclear if
all the loose labels found in the waste were taken off by customers or if they had fallen off in
the garbage bag due to movement and humidity. Therefore, the numbers of individual wrappers
(Table 3) and consequently the number of wrappers removed by customers might be lower. We
expect the low recycling rates of the green wrapper could be due to additional factors. Firstly,
during the observation we noticed that some customers looked at the cup and label during the
tasting but did not remove the wrapper afterwards. They seemed rather occupied with the
tasting itself and may not have noticed the recycling cues. Other factors are expected to be due
to the design of the wrappers. The text on the green wrapper is black which has a lower
contrast than black text on an orange background. Furthermore, it may not have been clear
enough to customers that the wrapper had to be taken off the cup, as there were no cues
signalling that this had to be done, apart from the logo from the Waste Pointer. Moreover, the
paper was very thin and might not have felt paper-like in contrast to thicker paper or cardboard.
This can also explain why a few persons picked up wrappers which had fallen off and still
threw it into PMD.
4 Conclusions
This paper aims to bridge the gap between packaging design and consumer behaviour during
purchase and recycling of sustainable packaging. We conducted an empirical study to
determine the influence of specific design elements of sustainable packaging on consumer
behaviour. The results of the first study show that decisions made by consumers regarding the
packaging are mostly based on graphics and to a lesser extent on information and form.
Furthermore, a sustainable form and information regarding sustainability have a higher utility
than a neutral form and information, which indicates that these cues are able to trigger a higher
buying intention. In terms of graphics, it is important to maintain congruency with the product
inside, however nature imagery and natural sights seem to have a positive influence on overall
utility. In relation to purchase intention when prices are included, the results indicate that the
design with the highest utility would be chosen in many cases. However, consumers seem less
willing to pay more for an extra label containing information on packaging sustainability.
According to the second study, the bottle with the highest utility is clearly more in favour than
the bottle with the lowest utility, which amplifies the results of the first study. According to the
results on recycling behaviour, it is unclear if recycling logos and a stimulating text have an
impact on recycling intention of consumers. We recommend an additional test which is less
task oriented and takes into account the factors regarding the design of the wrappers as
5 Acknowledgements
We would like to thank the Albert Heijn Thiemsbrug supermarket in Hengelo, The Netherlands
for providing us space and materials to conduct our test.
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... Despite the scarce attention to post-purchase and postuse behaviours (Bolderdijk et al., 2013;Klaiman et al., 2017;Steg et al., 2014), recent studies show that on-packaging explicit cues (e.g. logos and labels) (Borgman, 2018) or implicit design elements (e.g. environmentally friendly look) (Geiger, 2020) guide consumers towards more sustainable disposal behaviour of packaging (Borgman, 2018;Geiger, 2020) and its content (Zeng et al., 2021). ...
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... Last, our research provides contributions to environmental psychology and eco-design by exploring the linkage between packaging design and sustainable behaviour. Prior studies have often overlooked this phenomenon, predominantly focusing on pre-purchase stages (Lindh et al., 2016a;Magnier & Schoormans, 2017;Steenis et al., 2018;Steg et al., 2013) and missing real life set-ups (Borgman, 2018). The current study demonstrates an effect on sustainable behaviour, both in terms of disposal of the packaging and sorting. ...
... Despite the scarce attention to postpurchase and post-use behaviors (Bolderdijk et al., 2013;Klaiman et al., 2017;Steg et al., 2014), recent studies show that on-packaging explicit cues (e.g. logos and labels) (Borgman, 2018) or implicit design elements (e.g. environmentally friendly look) (Geiger, 2020) guide consumers towards more sustainable disposal behavior of packaging (Borgman, 2018;Geiger, 2020) and its content (Zeng et al., 2021). ...
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... The form/structure concerns about material used, material type (recycled/recyclable) and packaging (reusable) [16]. Wansink [17] concluded that larger packages are perceived as less expensive and encourage greater use and Gomes et al. [10] refers that "consumers usually perceive more stretched-out forms as larger, even when they usually buy the product and know its exact volume." ...
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Every year, an average of 1000000 L of mineral water are sold in Portugal. An amount of plastic waste from the bottles, plastic and labels could arise ecological problems. Portuguese are now paying more attention to environmental issues and most consumers consider sustainable issues in their purchase intentions. This study analyses how sustainable Portuguese water bottles considering two important functions of packages: technical analysis (material usage for plastic bottle, plastic cap, label and complete amount of water) and communication role (how consumers perceived the bottle in terms of sustainability). Therefore, two studies are carried out. The first measures the weight variations of bottle components and the second inquiries the consumers to rank the bottle pictures in terms of sustainable design attributes.
... To date, most of the studies that evaluated consumers' perception of sustainable packaging compared different packaging materials such as plastic, glass, and paper-based containers (Boesen et al., 2019;Orzan et al., 2018) and different visual elements such as graphics and information on labels (Borgman et al., 2019;Krah et al., 2019;Samant and Seo, 2016). No studies have intended to modify the appearance of the packaging within one class of material; studies have mainly focused on perceptions between material classes such as glass versus paper versus plastic. ...
Recent surveys have shown that consumers do not know how to recognize sustainable packaging and are misled by the excessive usage of environmental clues by the packaging industry. A better approach to communicate sustainability is therefore needed to promote purchasing towards sustainable products. This study proposes to re-design recycled paper-based containers so that consumers easily recognize visually large contaminants in the paper influencing the consumer to refer to this product as recycled and perceive it as sustainable. To this end, the appearance of recycled containers from old corrugated containers (OCC) was intentionally altered with the addition of processed mixed office waste (MOW) of distinct average aspect ratio (AR) (length divided by width), namely 52 (macro-scale), 72 (micro-scale), and 163 (nano-scale), to produce recycled paperboards with visually noticeable recycled contents. The addition of MOW with the lowest AR resulted in visible particles on the surface of paperboards, evidencing the presence of recycled materials. The mechanical performance with this material, however, decreased. On the other hand, the addition of MOW with the highest AR improved the mechanical properties of the paperboards similar to the addition of nanocellulose but with less obvious cues of it having recycled content in the product. Thus, the combination of low and high AR contaminants is suggested to strategically engineer sustainable packaging with high performance and clear visual clues of recycled content and positive environmental perception.
... Mentioned should be that research have more often shown that the perception of sustainability of consumers is often not correlating with the actual sustainability of products. Moreover, recent research have shown that consumers behaviour towards recycling of packaging can be influenced by design (Borgman, Mulder-Nijkamp, & Koeijer, 2018;Geiger, Ünal, Van der Werf, & Steg, in preparation). ...
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This research project provides a development and implementation guide for the Netherlands Institute Sustainable Packaging (KIDV) for a sustainability goal setting and evaluation tool. The first part of the research comprises an analysis on sustainable development and circular economy and what it implies for packaging development. Business enhancement with and barriers towards implementation of sustainability in packaging development processes are discussed. An analysis on existing tools and guidelines was executed. This to find what is needed in a tool to support producers and importers in their packaging development processes. The second part describes the development of a prototype, where indicators are defined, data is collected, and an interface and tool structure are designed. This prototype is tested by stakeholders from industry, to test the usability of the tool and to validate the synthesis from the first part of the research.
... How consumers perceive packaging characteristics can affect whether consumers dispose of packaging in a sustainable manner by for instance recycling the packaging (Williams et al., 2018). More specifically, Borgman et al. (2018) have proposed that there is a link between packaging features that convey sustainability and whether consumers engage in sustainable disposal of the packaging, by for instance recycling. Therefore, as a starting point it is important to first establish how much environmental benefits consumers perceive bio-based plastic packaging to have, relative to fossil-based plastic packaging. ...
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To realize the potential environmental benefits that recycling and/or composting bio-based plastic packages can deliver, it is important that consumers view bio-based packaging as environmentally-friendly, but also correctly dispose of the packaging. The current experimental lab-in-the-field study was conducted among German consumers (n = 281) and explores whether consumers' perceived environmental benefits of recyclable and compostable bio-based plastic packages match with how consumers dispose of these packages. The results show that consumers only perceive compostable bio-based packages to have more environmental benefits than fossil-based packages. However, consumers dispose of compostable bio-based packages in an incorrect manner (not in line with what is communicated on the packaging label) relatively often. Consumers with a stronger familiarity with bio-based products more often correctly dispose of compostable bio-based packages, but not recyclable bio-based packages, relative to fossil-based packages. Thus, although mainly compostable bio-based plastic packages have strong environmental appeal to consumers, paradoxically this does not translate in the proper disposal actions to fully capitalize on the environmental benefits that bio-based packages can actually deliver. Increasing consumers' bio-based product familiarity might be an avenue to increase the levels of sustainable disposal.
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Lately, most studies on sustainable design from the perspective of emotional durability focus on product design, particularly on exploring how do product functions direct consumers’ emotional changes after the product is used, but overlook the significant impact of consumers’ visual impression of the product on their judgment. Therefore, this paper aims at finding out how to maintain the emotionally durable connection between consumers and products with the help of visual communication design so as to provide guidance for prolonging the service life of products and reducing the waste and consumption of resources. Based on literature reviews on sustainable design, visual communication design, and emotionally durable design, this paper firstly adopted the case study method to analyze more than 85 high-quality design practice cases and put forward preliminary design strategies. The behavior research method was then applied to analyze the consumer behavior involved in the preliminary design strategies, and those design strategies were upgraded according to the analysis results. Based on the above analysis and research work, this paper proposed six design strategies to improve the emotional durability of visual communication design, namely, Enjoyment, Functionality, Narrativity, Symbolism, Interaction, and Innovation. In the area of sustainability, the design strategies proposed in this paper provide a new design mode for emotionally durable visual communication design and make products to be more acceptable to consumers and long-term holding. Emotionally durable visual communication design can influence consumers’ aesthetics and lead consumers’ behavior toward more sustainable use of products.
The lower Tejo river basin is an important crop production area in Portugal. The mild climate, diverse water sources and availability along with flat and fertile land areas provide the condition to a highly productive region. Although the historically rainfed cultures installation since the eighteen century, irrigated cultures, such as rice, started to gradually occupy the region in the beginning of the twentieth century. Nowadays, rice cultivation prevails in the area, which requires reliable sources to fulfil water demand for this culture. Paddy-rice fields installation in Tejo tributaries alluvium, such as Sorraia and Almansor rivers, directly supply those parcels in the vicinity. Nevertheless, the largest production area is installed in Lezírias de Vila Franca de Xira, located in Tejo alluvium plains. Such area requires large amounts of water during crop season, from April to October, mainly withdrawn from Tejo river. The Tejo estuary proximity and its salinity influence along with demand peak during summer compromise water quality which, in a long term, can cause salinization and alkalinization of soils. Rice is a light salinity tolerant culture, which is adapted with the current water quality, but the region faces serious sustainability challenges if a shift for some other crop type occurs, as happened in the past. Multiple Correspondence Analysis was used as a statistical method to assess water quality in the region. Water management, driven with water quality allocation by crop and soils requirements can be an answer to minimize permanent soil damages achieving natural resources sustainability in the long term.
Despite packaging sustainability aspects often being embedded in companies’ strategic aims, the structured implementation of such targets is limited at the operational level, where a product’s commercial viability (strategic fit, business case feasibility, and a limitation of commercial risks) and development aspects (timing issues, material use, and supply chain efficiency) are prioritized over desired sustainability goals. Packaging acts not as an isolated entity but as a part of a symbiotic product-packaging combination, of which the development is the shared responsibility of stakeholders with different backgrounds and interests. With the development and design process of product-packaging combinations being a concatenation of decisions made by multidisciplinary teams in various organizations, the structured integration of sustainability-related considerations in product-packaging development can benefit from a synthesized focus on development teams’ efforts, decision-making processes, stakeholder interaction and dynamics, and trade-offs. This research addresses a vision on an approach to explore, understand, and analyze this field, specifically its key characteristics that act as enablers and barriers of product-packaging sustainability. This is targeted by interactively modelling the decision-making processes of product-packaging development, both within multidisciplinary development teams, companies, and product-packaging chains, by means of a collection of interactive tools. Key within these tools is the ability to address the multidisciplinarity of stakeholders, the decision-making processes within and beyond development teams, and the proposed and realized inclusion of sustainability-related considerations, all within a framework of tacit and explicit knowledge.
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Packaging sustainability concepts have co-evolved with the increasing incorporation of the principles of sustainable development at various levels within industrial and organizational platforms. Currently, pollution from plastics, packaging-related waste, declining air, soil, and water quality, climate change, and other contemporary challenges are influencing the packaging industry. Barriers such as value chain complexities and negative consumer attitudes due to the economic, social, and environmental demands of sustainable behaviors can discourage companies from the implementation of more sustainable packaging. Hence, packages with improved sustainability may never make their way into the marketplace. However, the next generation of sustainable solutions can be motivated by efforts that fuel a positive consumer attitude towards sustainable packaging. In order to direct efforts, a clear understanding of consumer dynamics in ecological material preferences, willingness to pay, recycling, and factors impacting sustainable behaviors are essential. The objective of this work is to (i) explore the definitions, the impact of sustainable packaging in the value chain, and consumer behavior theories; (ii) review current practices, factors affecting sustainable behaviors, and consumer testing methods; (iii) present three distinct case studies on consumer preferences and value perceptions on bio-based cellulose materials and the impact of on-label claims and pre-evaluation education in consumer preferences; and (iv) to reveal the research gaps and opportunities for consumer research and suggest strategies for stakeholders to communicate packaging sustainability to consumers.
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