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Brief Published: 7 Feb 2013

The Disappearing Package


Aaron Mickelson, a package design graduate from New York’s Pratt Institute, has created a range of waste-eliminating packaging concepts as part of his master’s thesis, The Disappearing Package. The project outlines new zero-waste packaging options for everyday goods such as tea, detergent, soap and refuse bags.

Mickelson’s packaging designs use wax sealants, water-soluble paper and soap-soluble inks to help the packaging dissolve safely. Some of the packaging is part of the product itself – such as a tower of pull-apart detergent pods – so the packaging disappears with every use of the product.

“From the beginning, my intent with this project has been to expand the conversation on sustainable packaging,” Mickelson told Stylus. “Up to now, it has been mostly limited to changing the kinds of materials we use, sourcing greener alternatives.”

He went on: “At the end of the day, a pound of waste is a pound of waste – regardless of what it's made of. I wanted to offer a slightly different way of thinking about the problem, eliminating that waste entirely.”

As consumers become more aware of the environmental repercussions of excessive and non-biodegradable packaging, a growing number of brands are exploring zero-waste, multi-use and edible packaging designs. Stylus spotlights the frontrunners in Packaging to Survive Modern Life.

The Disappearing Package