University of Wisconsin-Stout: Jake Meicher, Dan Dressel, Megan Ruhlach, Stephanie Schmitt, Julia Horner
Current dress shirt packaging is cumbersome and boring. Most dress shirts sold at the retail level are pinned together with a paperboard backing and wrapped in a plastic film. There is a large disparity between the quality of the product and the quality of the packaging. Additionally, current dress shirt packaging has no added value or functionality, and most of the materials end up being discarded.
Our team has created a dress shirt packaging system that is innovative, sustainable, and functional. Our package consists of a uniquely designed aluminum core that is encapsulated by a biodegradable paperboard tube. The tube ends are capped with closures made out of corrugated board that is printed with sizing information in a sleek format that minimizes confusion. A segment of the aluminum core is exposed externally, which serves as a handle for the assembled package. The exposed aluminum also helps create a premium image and an air of sophistication that consumers desire when purchasing dress shirts. Inside of the paperboard tube, the aluminum shaft is formed to function as a hanger and as a support structure for the dress shirt. To remove the product from the packaging, the consumer simply removes the corrugated end caps and slides the handle through the guide slot. The dress shirt will self-unroll and the consumer will be left holding a neat, wrinkle free dress shirt that is already on a hanger.
The advantages of this package are numerous. We chose to use 100% post-consumer recycled material for the construction of the paperboard tube. This material is readily available and economical. To conceal any contamination or artifacts that can result from using post-consumer recycled paper products we have chosen to fully coat the outside of the tube in soy based ink, which offers numerous environmental advantages over traditional inks and does not affect the recyclability of the material. Flood coating the exterior of the tube also adds to the premium image of the product and creates aesthetic appeal. To ensure that all materials used were environmentally responsible, we chose to use aluminum for handle/hanger core. Aluminum is infinitely recyclable and has one of the highest recovery rates of all metals.
At the retail level, the package allows for a variety of display methods. The packages can be stacked in an offset pattern inside existing dress shirt display cubicles, they can be arranged vertically on shelves to display their impressive graphics, or they can be hung on existing store racks.Another major advantage of our packaging is that it is functional and adds value. The aluminum hanger is designed to be kept by the consumer after purchase and used along with the product. This eliminates a dramatic amount of waste generation from our packaging. Furthermore, the exposed aluminum that serves as a handle eliminates the need for traditional plastic shopping bags that are used after purchase.
All in all, this package is a comprehensive solution that gracefully solves all the problems associated with current dress shirt packaging.