Great ideas come from many places, and here in sunny California many of ours come when we have the sea breeze in our hair and sand between our toes. The beach is full of inspiration for packaging — if you know where to look. So slap on some sunscreen and follow along as we explore two examples of protective packaging right from the seashore.
Whether or not you enjoy them as your entree, you have to respect mussels as resilient members of the animal kingdom. Turbulent waves crash down on them all day, and they’re prey to many species of marine life. But, they have a trick up their sleeve — well, their shell — to protect themselves and stay connected to one another. They use a type of strong, natural adhesive to stick together, and that’s the packaging pearl in this brief biology lesson.
Mussels have packaging muscles!
Here’s how it works: a mussel’s natural adhesive absorbs the shock from incoming waves and can naturally heal itself. Researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, took that concept and used it to create an all-new polymer that’s strong, stretchy, and can put itself back together after it breaks.
This plastic-like polymer touts some amazing specs: it’s 58 times stronger than traditional plastic and 770 times stretchier. That means if a package takes a spill during transportation or something heavy falls on it, the polymer can absorb the shock. Even if the packaging breaks, it can heal itself and survive another impact in the future thanks to some clever biological engineering.
Photo courtesy of Genuine Coconut
While it might sound risky to completely remove man-made packaging from the equation, Mother Nature is a great packaging designer herself. Genuine Coconut sells coconut water… although it would be more appropriate to say they sell the whole coconut. Since their product naturally comes packaged in a durable container, the company just stamps their logo on the coconut shell, affixes a small tap to help consumers access the water inside, and ships them off to market.
Why should you trust a coconut to package your product? Well, they routinely survive the fall from the nearly 100-foot-tall trees they grow on, proving they withstand impact like a champ. They’re also famously resistant to water — a coconut once floated all the way from south of the equator up to Norway! Those two properties make coconuts a great package in their own right, and a sustainable one to boot.
At Ernest Packaging Solutions, we’re fortunate to work so close to the ocean, which is a source inspiration and motivation for our packaging solutions, straight from the natural world itself. Watch us bring the world of packaging to the beach as we catch some waves with our Cardboard Chaos surfboard!