Designer Aaron Mickelson wants to solve the problem of excess packaging, by creating products that have no packaging at all.
Every year, Americans generate a lot of solid waste. In 2010, 250 million tons, according to the EPA. A full 30 percent of that (about 76 million tons) comes from packaging — it’s the biggest culprit.
As awareness grows about this problem, many companies and designers are looking for solutions to green their packaging by either making it more recyclable, or reducing the amount. Mickelson wants to take that initiative all the way to its furthest extent and eliminate packaging waste entirely. His Pratt University master’s thesis, called The Disappearing Package, is a proposal for how that might happen. “On a whim, I started thinking about applying the functions of packaging to the product itself,” says Mickelson. “I was immediately struck by the green potential for an idea like this, if it could be applied across several product types.”