GA Tech: Electra Szmukler, Nicole Woods, Catherine Sun, Leah Huck, Jocelyn Jagrowski

In a world that continues to feel the impact of disregard for the planet, the need for effective and sustainable consumption is vital. Enter Hi-Cone: a lead supplier for drink packaging. Something as small as a six-pack connective packaging may not seem like it has a significant influence on the world, and yet, considering that Coca-Cola alone sells 1.8 billion bottles per day, the numbers start to add up. While existing packaging remains cheap, it often employs Type 4 plastic: a difficult material for recycling centers to process. Furthermore, current designs are not user-friendly, proving difficult to carry and creating a challenge of separating the drinks from the packaging.

In response to these issues, The Whole Package design team aimed to redesign everything about this packaging. We sought to embody a unique angle, balancing user-centered design, manufacturing practices, and ease of recycling to make something that benefited everyone who interacted with it.

There were several guides we kept in mind as we worked. Our goal was this: a simple design that still allows for stackability, ease of manufacturing and processing, and curbside recyclable in the US. In addition to these objectives, we wanted to improve upon current packaging by emphasizing ergonomics and human factors, interactive design, and materials.

Our new design employs an aluminum material that can be recycled alongside the aluminum drinking cans. Aluminum is the best choice for this package because, as the third most recycled material in the US, users never have to question its recyclability. As many communities make the difficult decision to remove materials from their recycling programs, plastics #3-7 are the first to go. Fortunately, aluminum is so easy to recycle that it will always remain an integral part of any recycling program. In fact, 75% of aluminum ever manufactured in North America is still in use today through recycling. For these reasons, aluminum is the perfect choice for this innovative package design.

The sturdiness of aluminum is what allows the central mechanism of the design to function. The "sliding mechanism" behind the design allows for an innovative but simplistic method to access and store aluminum cans. Instead of tediously unpacking numerous cans, it is now a matter of ripping open the seal and letting the contents slide out. Unlike before, The Whole Package's design is reusable, allowing an emptied six-pack to be easily refilled. With these features, ergonomic handles allow for these packs to be carried comfortably. All in all, The Whole Package is confident that this redesign allows for superior recycling potential while delivering upon business and consumer expectations from this product.