|Caroline Skarupa, Katy Mobley, Ryan Flanagan, Dorit Elihahu, Katie Tynes
It’s 2017, and batteries have sustained countless shapes and improvements since their invention 217 years ago. Their packaging, however, leaves much to be desired. Thick plastic casings mean limited opening capabilities and tons of waste. How often have we bought batteries at an airport only to find we can’t open them? Or been at home and found that the sharp plastic is more dangerous than the scissors we used to cut it? Once opened, they are difficult to store and keep up with without a cluttered mess. Batteries also require special treatment for recycling, a step people often neglect. With these issues in mind, we created a new packaging system for Duracell’s Rechargeable battery line that aims to change the way people buy, store and recycle batteries.
Using 100% recyclable materials, we created a “Starter Kit” that includes a wall charger, 2 AA and 2 AAA rechargeable batteries, and an individual 4-pack of each battery size. The charger is compatible with both battery sizes. On the shelf, the packaging reveals the charger as well as the batteries so the consumer can clearly see the product. The charger and batteries are housed in a tray that makes the packaging easy to open and store. The consumer can replace the starter kit battery trays with the individually packaged trays. The compact shape makes storage easier and hassle free.
Through thoughtful package design, the easy-open sleeves create a plus sign, which is representative of the batteries being positively charged. Conversely when the sleeves are put together to create the ‘recycle box,’ the opening creates a negative sign, indicating the battery is expired and ready to be recycled. The refreshing color palette of lime green and metallic makes it easy for the consumer to recognize the packaging on the shelf. Additionally, the dimensions of the starter pack were chosen thoughtfully in order to maximize shelf presence in retail settings.
Americans alone dispose of around 3 billion batteries per year—that’s enough batteries to wrap around the earth six times! With that in mind, a major aspect of this packaging is its environmentally friendly features. While the kit is made of 100% recyclable materials, our intent was for it to find a home on a shelf or in a drawer rather than in the wastebasket. After opening the packaging, the top and the bottom of the Starter Kit Box link together and create a ‘recycle box’ which will store expired batteries that are ready to be recycled. Recycling instructions are located on the inside of the box. New and charged batteries can remain in the storage tray. The solution also promotes reusable batteries in order to reduce waste.
We created a system using the core principles of simplicity, recyclability, and usability that will bring battery packaging up to speed with this century. Designed with the consumer in mind, this solution is a new, fun, and fresh way to buy and store batteries while also taking care of the environment.