Hidden costs of packaging – £12M annual cost to the NHS

15 August 2013

The second People’s Design Lab redesign workshop was kindly hosted by the Loughborough University Design School and brought together people from varied backgrounds united by their desire to reduce the waste we make.  Three teams of lab members put their heads together to develop some radical re-thinking of the products nominated in our People’s Design Lab awards.  The day was full of enthusiastic discussion about how we can take a less wasteful approach to these products and we have so great ideas to build on.

One group tackled excess plastic packaging and as part of their research they discovered that not only can it be bad for the environment, non-food packaging is also responsible for 67,000 (yes sixty seven thousand) visits to A&E each year, at an estimated cost of £12M (you can read more about the research here).  This is surely just the tip of the iceberg of people frustrated by packaging that is excessive and hard to open.  We even found that it is known as “Wrap rage” .  Our re-design proposals include a simple change to toothbrush packaging that could reduce waste by around 150 tonnes each year.

Over the next couple of days we’ll be posting more about our redesigns for excess packaging, inkjet printers and black plastic trays and you can hear more about our work and redesigns at our conference on 12 September.

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