Plastic returnable packaging rolls up for return

Written by: Tom Shelley | Published:

Royal College of Art graduate Will Penfold has come up with the idea of reusable packaging made of polypropylene, which can be rolled up for easy returning.

He says: “Packaging waste is one of our most visible and damaging environmental problems, and it is forecast that the UK will run out of landfill space in 10 years. Roll and return is a re-usable packaging solution, which will greatly reduce waste and is rewarding for the consumer. After use, the reusable boxes conveniently roll for easy return where they are used again and again.”
The prototype examples made for demonstration at the RCA’s summer show looked like conventional printed, corrugated cardboard cartons, but were made out of what he described as a “Type of polypropylene used in the automotive industry”. What he had done was to take thin sheets, and then corrugate them on a heat press. He said that it should be possible to re-use each box, “More than ten times” after which, the plastic could be re-cycled. He saw first uses in transit packaging rather than consumer packaging, although it is the latter which is his primary target. The printing had been done with stickers, although he pointed out that it is possible to print polypropylene. His particular method of forming the boxes in such a way that they can be collapsed and rolled up for return has been patented.

This is just one of a series of student inventions that is to form part of a longer article in the September edition of Eureka

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