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Brief Published: 15 Jul 2021

Sony’s Sustainable Paper Packaging

Sony's Original Blended Material packaging

As part of its move away from plastic packaging, Sony has developed its own eco-conscious paper material that is suitable for a diverse range of applications. Derived from traceable, locally harvested fibres and with a ‘minimal processing’ design approach, the solution is a pioneering example in low-impact and easy-to-recycle packaging.

Original Blended Material (OBM) is a strong, durable and versatile material made from a mix of bamboo, sugarcane fibre and post-consumer recycled paper. 

Fibre ratios can be altered to produce different gauges and strengths, and the material is easily moulded, thus is suitable for boxes, sleeves and cushioning alike. It can also be embossed, eliminating the need for inks.

The final product is left completely uncoloured to retain a minimal and organic look. Echoing core themes in our S/S 2022 direction Endurance, this simplified design ethos helps to communicate material transparency, responsible production and safer/cleaner handling. See our A/W 21/22 direction Earth for more unprocessed colour applications.

Abundance, recyclability and minimal CO2 footprints were key considerations for Sony when selecting the fibres for OBM.

Bamboo and sugarcane both have short growth cycles (meaning they can be grown quickly and harvested as needed), so in turn, have shorter CO2 absorption/emission cycles.

Additionally, sugarcane fibre (pomace), a byproduct of sugar production, is typically burned as fuel for power generation. Repurposing this residue helps to eliminate further carbon emissions. 

The fibres are within easy reach from leading manufacturing hubs in Asia and Sony has specified the origins in the hope of encouraging other businesses in the region to embark on similar initiatives. (Bamboo from China’s Guizhou Province; sugarcane from Nakhon Sawan, Thailand; recycled paper from the same area as the OBM production plant). 

OBM has debuted with the brand’s Truly Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones. It will soon be rolled out for other select products.

See Packaging Futures 21/22 and Material Direction: Revaluing Paper for more ecological paper packaging solutions.