Judging Packaging



There are trends and then there are trends. One lasts as long as it takes to flick through your Instagram feed and the other is deep-rooted and resonates...

The world has been talking sustainability for quite some time now yet perhaps we have not moved on as fast as we could have. The consumer can only move as fast as the manufacturers of materials allow. We, the specifiers, can make a bridge to this gap.    

Are smaller brands more conscientious? Our clients are keen to be green; and we too are committed to research and engaging with the latest innovations and materials. For many brands, plastic-free has been the go-to option, or utilising refill packaging with less post-consumer waste and less energy to transport. That said, reduced plastic is still plastic.

Lind & Lime gin bottles

Since the turn of this decade there has been a focus on nostalgia, people want to look back for comfort and be comforted. Glass has been a big proponent of this trend; once as common as a plastic bottle is today, it was readily returned for a few pence pocket money to undergo a rinse and repeat. It’s also much healthier – zero microplastics in our oceans and in ourselves.

Details of the Burnt Faith bottles

There’s no ultimate revolution yet; there’s a lot of greenwashing but every initiative has pluses and minuses. One of the most interesting advances in research is the development of seaweed-based packaging. As described by Notpla Ltd on their website “There are forests below the sea that are very dear to us. Seaweed grows quickly, and needs no freshwater, land, or fertiliser. It captures carbon and makes the surrounding waters less acidic. Beyond this, seaweed is abundantly available and has near-magical material properties. In the quest to heal our ecosystems and food chains from the toxic waste of plastic packaging, it is the perfect companion species.” They have packaging solutions already brought to market and many more exciting projects still to be realised. Could this natural plant-based material be the future of plastic free packaging?

The Green Hustle bar with a crowd of people

So, recycling, upcycling, re-using, refilling – we’re all doing our bit but with no global structure or solution it’s apparent this is not quite enough to make a true difference. It’s a fragmented approach to a problem affecting every particle of our existence that at the very least needs to be driven and directed from the top down not the bottom up. All we can do meantime is to be considerate with our choices; and apply the innovative solutions that are appearing to replace old habits with new futures.


Talking of judging, Jason Dobson, Business and Creative Director, will be at In-Drinks 2024 judging this year’s competition after a successful inaugural event in 2023.

And don’t miss James Hartigan on stage day 1 at In-Drinks – our Creative Director of Packaging is delivering ‘Designing a Difference’ – How can packaging emerge as one of your most powerful advocates in an ever-competitive sector.