Nowadays, there is a new trend in doing business – sustainability. Its popularity is stimulated by the negative human- and industry-induced changes in the natural environment, which result in the changing demand for products and manufacturing. In this way, the overall green consciousness grows and companies are forced to alter production process, implementing environmentally friendly technologies and offering eco-friendly products. More than that, there is a growing for eco-friendly packaging – that having no negative impact on the natural environment during the process of decomposition and would be easily recyclable.
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Therefore, the proposed paper will focus on eco-friendly packaging and sustainability issues. The desire to study this issue is motivated by the novelty of this packaging and promising prospects related to introducing it. Moreover, the research might be helpful for businesses and companies, as it will introduce some details about environmentally friendly packaging and ideas for designers because most companies are still concerned about implementing new technologies for producing eco-friendly packaging for products they offer. Finally, this issue is of high social importance. These days, packaging is produced from foil and plastic, which are not only unrecyclable but also change their structure under extremely high temperature, thus affecting packed products and, as a result, human health (Wu 2014).
From this perspective, manufacturers, consumers, and packaging designers are the intended audience of this research paper. This choice is motivated by the fact that they possess valuable information for the research – perspectives on packaging, designs, and currently used technologies. On the other hand, the same audience might find the completed paper interesting, as it will offer insights on current trends in packaging as well as advantages and disadvantages of eco-friendly packaging.
Still, it is essential to determine the area of interest. The focus will be made on the existing trends in packaging. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to identify primary technologies, which are currently used for producing packaging and develop ways for replacing non-recyclable elements with recyclable ones. To achieve this objective, it is vital to address several research questions:
- What are current trends in packaging?
- What are major advantages and disadvantages of eco-friendly packaging?
- How can companies shift from traditional to eco-friendly packaging?
To answer these questions, it is essential to conduct a thorough research focusing on all aspects of traditional and eco-friendly packaging and related sustainability issues. Moreover, a detailed plan is required to make the whole process flawless and successful (Davies 2007). The research plan will be provided in subsequent sections.
Approach to Researching a Chosen Issue
This research requires a comprehensive approach to conducting it. It is assumed that literature review is the best option for this study, as it is helpful for estimating current trends in the studied issue and developing a detailed paper (Creswell 2013). The idea is to avoid limiting the nature of sources, i.e. review both scholarly and non-scholarly papers to obtain an in-depth understanding of the studied issue. Newspaper and magazine articles are as well an appropriate source of information because they usually cover current-times topics and include pictures helpful for developing designs (McNeill 2005).
Conducted and Planned Research
As for now, current trends in packaging and options for introducing eco-friendly packaging were reviewed. It was discovered that, in most cases, traditional packaging is made of foil and plastic (Wu 2014). To replace it with sustainable materials, it is recommended to choose recycled materials, paper, and pulp because they are easily recyclable, cost-effective, highly flexible, and mechanically strong (Muthu 2016; Berk 2013; Natarajan, Govindarajan & Kumar 2015). However, continuing research is still necessary. In fact, the research process will not be stopped up to the completion of the project to make sure that all newest and relevant information is addressed. Therefore, it is planned to continue an online research, focusing on eco-friendly packaging and sustainability. It is essential to note that online searching process is chosen due to the possibility of finding the most relevant information, as both scholarly and non-scholarly sources such as videos, blogs, and magazine articles on the studied issues are easily located (Rumsey 2008).
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Live Research Tools
To address all research questions and achieve research objectives, it is essential to use some live research tools. For instance, some design research methods such as desk research of most popular and brightest concepts will be employed. The motivation for choosing this research is a tool to obtain some visual information necessary for a comprehensive study. Moreover, observation of pictures and different packaging itself is a valuable live research tool, as it will be beneficial for obtaining a better understanding of the studied issue (Sharp, Peters, & Howard 2012).
Starting a Research
The research starts the very moment a plan is developed. The rationale for making this statement is the belief that it is vital to understand all concepts and ideas related to the studied issues, which is impossible to achieve without conducting a research (Sharp, Peters, & Howard 2012). From this perspective, the research process will last until the completion of the project to guarantee that all related aspects are addressed and no new information is missed.
Project Management Plan
To conduct a successful research, it is essential to understand the value of time and plan each stage (Adair & Allen 1999). It is critical because without setting deadlines, there is a risk of failing to complete the study (Jasper 1999). Below is a preliminary timeline for working on this project:
- Developing a detailed plan of the project – 1 week. During this stage, it is necessary to determine what aspects of packaging and sustainability issues will be addressed in the paper.
- Review of the existing literature on the topic and creation of the literature map, including both scholarly and non-scholarly sources – 1 week. This step requires the creation of literature map indicating the nature of sources, date of publication, section of the research they will be helpful for, and whether they include pictures helpful for the design part.
- Working on the paper – 3 weeks. This stage is the process of writing the paper. It is a thorough review of all sources, which is accompanied with searching additional sources such as the latest blog posts or journal and magazine articles.
- Reviewing findings and proofreading the paper – 1 day. This stage does not require more time because it is a mechanical process.
- Completing a project and revisions if necessary. In this case, it is impossible to set the deadline feedback is required to determine one.
Project Management Tools
Online search is the central approach to this project. Therefore, search engine is the primary instrument for this research. In addition, Microsoft Word and Excel, as well as Adobe Photoshop, are required applications. Literature map is a necessary documentation instrument. Process plan is indicated in the timeline section above.
Stakeholders and Team
It is an individual project. So, no other team members will be included. However, a supervisor will be necessary to understand whether the study is comprehensive and addresses all mentioned aspects. Companies, ordinary people, and manufacturers are the target audience for this project, as they might find it interesting.
Time is the most valuable resource for conducting this research. Except for it, qualitative skills for analysing sources of information and quantitative for assessing statistical data will be required. Moreover, written communication skills are needed for choosing appropriate language for the project and sharing my opinions efficiently (Haddon 1999). As for financial resources, they are not needed because information will be gathered from free sources and no paid steps such as conducting interviews or buying database accounts are planned.
The final exhibition is a set of visual sources related to the conducted research. As for now, it is planned to include some concepts of eco-friendly packaging, tables and graphs related to the topic, and bright designs.
Risk Assessment and Feasibility
There are some significant obstacles to completing a successful research. For instance, failing to locate relevant and up-to-date information would impose risks of drawing inaccurate conclusions. At the same time, there is a risk of failing to include vital facts in the exhibition. However, working with a supervisor might easily solve it. Finally, some ethical considerations are necessary to address. For example, it is critical to guarantee that all borrowed ideas are properly cited and plagiarism is avoided (Silva 2015).
The expected deliverables of this project are the following: a comprehensive theoretical research focusing on eco-friendly packaging and related aspect and sustainability issues, some visual information such as statistics of using different packaging and percentage of recyclable and non-recyclable elements in packaging, and pictures of eco-friendly and traditional packaging.
As for now, 13 sources were used. All of them are indicated on the Reference List page. Some sources were helpful for understanding specificities of the research process, while the others were valuable for studying the issue of eco-friendly packaging itself. Nevertheless, the list is not complete, as the research will be continued and new sources will be added.
Adair, J & Allen, M 1999, Time management and personal management, Hawksmere, London.
Berk, Z 2013, Food process engineering and technology, Academic Press, London, United Kingdom.
Creswell, J 2013, Research design: qualitative, quantitative, 4th edn, SAGE Publications, London.
Davies, M B 2007, Doing a successful research project: using qualitative or quantitative method, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.
Haddon, P 1999, Mastering personal and interpersonal skills, 3rd edn, Thorogood, London.
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Jasper, J 1999, Take back your time, St Martins/Griffin, New York.
McNeill, P 2005, Research methods, 2nd edn, Routledge, London.
Muthu, S S 2016, Environmental footprints of packaging, Springer Science +Business Media, Singapore.
Natarajan, S, Govindarajan, M & Kumar, B 2015, Fundamentals of packaging technology, PHI Learning, Delhi.
Rumsey, S 2008, How to find information: a guide for researchers, 3rd edn, Open University Press, Berkshire.
Sharp, J A, Peters, J & Howard, K 2002, The management of a student research project, 3rd edn, Gower, Aldershot.
Silva, E A, Healey, P, Harris, N & Broeck, P V 2015, The Routledge handbook of planning research methods, Routledge, New York, New York.
Wu, A 2014, ‘Good product, bad package: top sustainable packaging mistakes,’ The Guardian, Web.