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Google on what goes into plastic-free Pixel packaging

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Google yesterday published its Plastic-Free Packaging Design Guide that details the road to a 100% plastic-free box for the Pixel 8 and all future products (by 2025).

This 69-page document is meant to serve as a “resource for others aiming to reduce their reliance on mixed material formats and adopt fiber based solutions.” 

We’ve been steadily reducing our use of plastic packaging to ease recyclability for municipalities and waste management systems. Plastic isn’t inherently problematic, but its overuse in packaging, particularly in mixed material formats, makes recycling and resource recovery a challenge.

Google has turned to fiber-based materials, like paper and cardboard. One thing Google kept in mind is that “sustainable packaging cannot compromise a product’s integrity” as “replacing damaged products carries a significant environmental impact.” 

This is the list of things Google used to replace common plastic components:

  • Coating solutions: “Alternatives to plastic laminations that provide protection and visual appeal.”
  • Shrink wrap removal: “Strategies to effectively safeguard retail box graphics during shipping without plastic shrink wrap.”
Google Pixel packaging
  • Closure labels: “Solutions that ensure tamper-evident security and offer accessibility features.”
  • Paper tapes: “Assembly solutions that maintain structural integrity without plastic tapes.”
  • Molded fiber hang tabs: “Balancing strength with user-friendly design for product display.”
  • Protective product wraps: “Materials that protect sensitive product surfaces and are compatible with recycling processes.”
Google Pixel packaging
  • Molded fiber trays: “The shift to molded fiber trays from thermoformed plastic and the design optimizations required.”

Google has three different types of packaging across Pixel and Nest:

Telescoping box: “This box type features an elegant and classic aesthetic with clean lines ideal for showcasing higher value products upon opening. A telescoping lid offers a simple opening and closing mechanism. Custom inserts and collars can be added for a tailored unboxing experience.”

Roll end lock front box: “A versatile structure featuring a front panel with interlocking tabs for closure. The design offers a balance between protection, familiar opening and easy assembly.”

Tuck top box: “Simple, functional appearance featuring a top flap that tucks into the box that is easy to open and close. Highly cost-effective and widely used for smaller accessories and lower priced products offering basic protection and easy assembly.”

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