Wasteful packaging is something that annoys TreeHugger to no end (we had two contests -- one showcasing the worst of it and spotlighting the way to do packaging right); there is simply no reason for excessive packaging, other than laziness and poor, thoughtless design. Thankfully, more and more examples of smart packaging are popping up, and we're excited to add one of the best examples we've seen yet: the lite2go by knoend. The San Francisco-based designers have devised a functional lighting system that uses the packaging as the product, practically eliminating any waste that would ordinarily come with unwrapping or opening the packaging. The outer shell of the package becomes the shade for the lamp, leaving just a cardboard band and some hemp twine, both of which are either easily recycled or composted. "We looked for a way to make lighting 'lighter.' How could a lighting concept be more simple, yet still uplifting and functional? Our answer was to rid the packaging, and include all components needed for illumination. Everything in one neat little package, ready to use off the shelf, ready to go, ready to lite2go!" they say, and we think it's brilliant. More pics and details after the jump.
Included in the package is a 7W compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL), which replaces a 40-60W incandescent, and the lamp can be used both as a pendant (above, left) and a table lamp (above, right). The shade, which is made from polypropylene (number 5 plastic), is recyclable, as is the CFL and electric cord, though those two require a bit more care in doing so (go to earth911.org to get started). Alternately, knoend will take back the product and see that it is properly recycled.
We love that knoend has been so thoughtful in the design of both the package and product; they seem to have truly considered the lifecycle implications of each of the materials. While they aren't all perfect (polypropylene is still a petro-based plastic, after all), knoend is working on improving them over time, considering things like bio-based plastics or laminated bamboo in future production. Perhaps most importantly, thought, knoend is working on changing the paradigm for product and packaging design: "When people understand that the packaging IS the product, hopefully they start to understand the concept of 'zero waste.'" lite2go is available through their site, as well as a handful of US retailers scattered around the country and online. ::knoend