Research Part 7 (The Inside-Out and Outside-In Orientation)

Although the physicality of a sustainable packaging design is important but before that, there is something that should be first thought through and considered. Consultant Kevin Howard of Packnomics, LLC, once emphasized in a presentation the importance of packaging design “from the outside in, rather than from the inside out”. This is a concept that all designers should consider first before the hands-on designing process especially when it comes to sustainable packaging design.

Outside-In concept 

  • focuses and walks through the public needs from the eyes of a customer
  • aim to really think through about redesigning something to meet the purpose better from clients’ perspective and see the actual needs of the public
  • places the interest of the customer ahead of the organization’s ability
  • constantly and efficiently ensure great service experience to satisfy their customer
  • requires the willingness of a designer to continuously invest time in learning more about their customers

Inside-Out concept 

  • an internal orientation that is reviewed through the eyes of the company
  • a process that is oriented on the needs of the organization
  • decisions are made based solely on only what they already know and feel which indirectly loses touch with the customers
  • decisions are also made based on the capabilities of the company with its existing resources
  • drives short term profits

Through a customer’s eyes only will the designers be able to see what customers expect from a sustainable design and what sustainable values they actually look or wish for. This concept has yet to be applied by many designing companies although the idea has been circulating for a while among other IT and services companies.


Patterson, L. (2011) ‘Improve Marketing Strategy By Thinking Outside-In.’ Hoteliers, 25 July. Available at: (Accessed: 27 July 2015).

Pietersen, W. (2015) ‘Outside-In Thinking: Crucial but Unnatural’, 13 August.  Available at: (Accessed: 28 July 2015).

Shaw, C. (2014) ‘Are you Inside-Out or Outside-In? Designing a Customer-Focused Process’, Linked In. Available at: (Accessed: 27 July 2015).

Research Part 6 (Bioplastics)

traditionalplasticsvsbioplasticsukWhat is bioplastic?

In simplest terms, bioplastic is derived from living, renewable materials like corn, sugar and vegetable oils. This can be contrasted with common plastics that rely more on non-renewable fossil fuels.

Where are bioplastics used at events?

Events may use bioplastics for many things: food serviceware and packaging, name badge holders, tabletop liners, banner material, floral wrapping, folder and folio covers and many other places where you might use traditional plastic.

Are Bioplastics good?

As much as many advantages, it also has drawbacks. Depending on the kind of product and packaging design, the usage of bioplastic as a material should be considered if it is necessary.

Are Bioplastics degradable?

Technically, all bioplastics will degrade. It is just the matter of time and condition it needs to degrade. Some bioplastics fully break down within months. Other bioplastics are designed to be more durable, and break down so slowly they might be considered non-biodegradable.But majority requires a very high temperature to degrade and even so sometimes it leaves behind residues such as  plastic bits and were said that it could impact the lives of animals and humans though there are no cases as of now


McKinley, S. (2013) ‘Meeting Mythbusters: Bioplastic Fantastic?’ Evencellany, 6 October. Available at: (Accessed: 19 July 2015).

NonStop Technical (2014) ‘Finnish Researchers Create Bioplastics From Rice Starch’ [Image]. Available at: (Accessed: 19 July 2015).)

The Bioplastic Factory (n.a.) ‘Bioplastics’ [Image]. Available at: (Accessed: 18 July 2015).

Research Part 5 (Being Skeptical About “Greener Alternatives”)

After some discussion with my lecturer and some given suggestions, here are some researches.

Packaging has always played a huge role in our daily lives probably without us even realizing it. The packaging materials ranges from plastics, papers, glass to aluminium. The problem about plastics and paper bags are that they are so convenient and versatile until they were overused. From the early stages, people have always worked hard to come out with greener solutions when it comes to packaging design. This is when the so called “environmental friendly” plastics are introduced as an alternative solution.

However, are they the solution to the problem or merely just a business gimmick?

Making better plastics 

The “environmental friendly” plastics can be divided into three categories consisting of

  • bioplastics
  • biodegradable plastics
  • eco-recycled plastics

Biodegradable plastics are plastics that are made from traditional petrochemical that breaks down quicker compared to the normal plastics whereas eco-recycled plastics are those made from recycled plastic materials rather than the raw source.

A not-so-perfect solution 

If you think that opting for “green” plastics on a day-to-day basis is a way of doing your part to help address our growing landfill problem, think again.

Are bioplastics good or bad?

On the other hand, bioplastics have been a long time controversial topic. Many design companies and manufacturers have been looking high at bioplastics. Though bio-plastics are being marketed as the best new “alternative” to traditional plastics there are a few details about this miracle material that skeptics are unrelentingly concerned about. It is made up of renewable resources such as corn starch, sugar and vegetable oils. They can be found in food packaging, folders and many other places we might use traditional plastics at. It’s important to see things in the round to understand whether “environmentally friendly” things are really doing more harm than good.


  • could possibly reduce 30 to 80 percent of greenhouse gasses
  • provide a longer shelf life


  • do not readily decompose
  • requires a very high temperature to degrade
  • were said that it could impact the lives of animals and humans
  • environmentalists consider some bioplastics (PLA) made of genetically modified corn or crops are considered harmful to the environment
  • excessive use of corn starch in production of plastics will also cause food crisis
  • PLA looks very similar to PET (polyethylene terephthalate) but, if the two are mixed up in a recycling bin, the whole collection becomes impossible to recycle


Dell, K. (2010) ‘The Promise And Pitfalls of Bioplastic’ Time Magazine, 3 May [Online]. Available at:,9171,1983894,00.html (Accessed: 7 July 2015).

Dorsey, S. (2012) ‘Is Bio-plastic really better than regular?’ Frugivore Magazine, 6 December [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 6 July 2015).

Weinberger, H. (2014) ‘Biodegradable Plastics: Too Good to Be True?’ Quest, 12 Jun. Available at: (Accessed: 6 July 2015).

Woodford, C. (2015) ‘Bioplastics and biodegradable plastics ‘ Explain That Stuff!, 2 July. Available at: (Accessed: 7 July 2015).