Home / Past Competitions / 2021 / KorkBu


School:Miami Ad School
Team:Marisa Morrissette, Sam Thomas, Melina Lentrichia, LaRen Thompson, Sarah Busby

We stand with Hi-Cone in their commitment to materials that are 100% recyclable,
compostable, or biodegradable. Our innovative design creates a unique story-telling
opportunity for Hi-Cone and their clients by providing a fully biodegradable and fully
sustainable canvas on which to share their brand’s goals and values. By utilizing cork to carry
cans and a seaweed adhesive to keep cans together, our repacking design highlights the next
generation of packaging materials.

When choosing materials for this project, we developed the philosophy from nature for nature.
Cork was attractive because its beauty and organic texture stimulates sensory triggers to our
place in nature. Cork is an eco-friendly, and sustainable material which is harvested without
harming trees. In fact, once harvested, cork trees absorb 3-5 times more CO2.1 The KorkBu
packaging prototype combines two sustainable polymeric adhesives. The primary ingredient is
algae based.2 The other two can be corn, sugar, lactic acid or gelatin based.3 KorkBu adhesive
keeps cans together during shipping and breaks apart when direct force is applied.

KorkBu reintroduces the cork wood industry as a progressive option for sustainable packaging.
In the early 2000s frustration over cork taint caused a massive shift in the wine industry, virtually
ending cork farming.4 Cork taint has since been mostly resolved, but business has not
resumed. This wastes a bountiful, sustainable product that needs minimal processing. Cork oak
trees can live for centuries and stripping their bark increases their longevity up to 200-250
years. Their high absorption of greenhouse gas makes them like carbon fixing factories. We believe that packaging should not only be practical: but beautiful and educational. When
you make a beautiful design, consumers engage. When consumers engage, they learn, and
then connect. Our cork strap is emblazoned with line drawings of the biomes consumers are
helping to protect, triggering a connection. The strap tells the carbon capture story of cork on
one side and shows one of our three biome line-drawings on the other. The inherent beauty of
the objects and their informative value make them collectable items.

The insulator we designed connect users via a QR code to an online database of animals at
rescues and national parks. When a user scans the code, they’re introduced to an animal with a
name, biography, and a whole personality. This connection with wildlife is echoed in the design
of the carry straps: 3 biomes of land, air, and sea. The straps flexible cork fabric can be
repurposed into an attractive adornment, adding value to consumers lives.

By disrupting usual packaging aesthetics and providing an easy social media entry point
through QR codes, our packaging design not only improves the existing 6-pack paradigm but
paves the way for public discussion on the environment. In addition to being fully sustainable
and biodegradable, our design (1) educates consumers about the positive impact of their
purchase on the environment, (2) encourages reuse of the packaging material, and (3) engages
consumers with the brand and the environment. Our design is for people and our planet.