Over the past few years we have been trying to focus carefully on the waste we produce as a company and examine where this can be either eradicated, or at the very least, reduced. It can be a difficult process. Often “eco” materials or products have a distinct aesthetic that is not necessarily compatible with a clean, utilitarian brand. For packaging in particular, it is a balancing act. Striking the correct balance between a material’s environmental credentials, function (protecting the product in transit), aesthetics and cost.
The existing packaging worked well: really well in-fact. The major issue was that the foam used for the insert could not be recycled, but rather only reconstituted and we didn't feel comfortable using this any more. While we at Instrmnt are avid lovers of packaging and would personally keep hold of the box if we received it through the post, we can imagine that not all do, and it could in fact be viewed as disposable. Essentially a single-use plastic.
In addition to these environmental considerations we started to see quite a few competitors who were clearly ‘inspired’ by our packaging. While this is flattering, it also makes it more difficult to stand out. It must be hard for a customer to pick between minimal watches all displayed in the same fashion.
When devising the new packaging iteration we wanted to keep the same layout that had become somewhat iconic of the brand but also wanted to give the box a refresh.
We spent a long time looking for foam alternatives: it turns out that there isn't a massive number of materials out there that share the same properties. We investigated rubber, latex and eco-alternatives, however these were either not cost effective or in the case of some eco-alternatives not fully developed and ready for use. Eventually we settled on using felt, and found Kvadrat’s sister company Really CPH. They use end-of-life textiles and reconstitute them into an acoustic felt which could be die cut. This meant we could accurately achieve the cavities we required for the insert and also offer the protective cushioning required.
For the paper over board box we turned to GF Smith. We had first been told about the Extract paper series a while back, and had been looking for a suitable application in which to use it. The paper is made using fibres from disposable coffee cups: GF Smith have partnered with James Cropper to devise a way to recycle the fibres into a perfect, smooth stock. It’s an impressive undertaking as the polythene that binds the cups and stops them from getting soggy can also make them notoriously difficult to recycle. Approximately 1.9 coffee cups are recycled into each box.
To read more about the companies we have worked with and the materials used, visit: