Design Futures Tackles the Problem of Fiddly Packaging

4th November 2014

M&S, working with Design Futures at Sheffield Hallam University, has launched a new packaging innovation that will make it much easier to remove toys from their box and could see the end of the fiddly plastic ties and wire clips widely used in toy packaging.

The patent pending PaperTies, made from recyclable paper, are designed to lock the product in place, securing it in the packaging as effectively as plastic ties, but can be easily torn by hand by the customer. The team faced the challenge of finding a material that is both stronger and more flexible than normal paper. By using a special 310gsm Fibreform material, the PaperTies are able to withstand the demands placed on the tie during packaging and transit. The PaperTies also don't create any complexity at the packing stage, as the locking teeth run all the way along a single length tie enabling various sized products to be secured. Unlike the widely used plastic and metal ties, the 100% FSC PaperTies can be thrown in kerbside paper recycling bins. The PaperTies can be found on a number of toys in store now. M&S is now starting work on introducing them across other product ranges, and plans to replace all plastic and wire ties where practically possible. John Kirkby, Creative Director for Design Futures, said: "Our design team devised the initial concept for the ties as a direct response to the frustration caused by hard to open toy packaging. We identified a new paper material that is very strong and used it to create a user focused way of holding products in packs. Not only is the product much easier to open but the material is better for the environment. It is very exciting to see the team at M&S develop our initial idea and take it to market". Alex Hill, Senior Packaging Technologist, General Merchandise, at M&S said: -Getting toys out of their packaging is a big frustration for consumers - it is something that I personally find to be a real pain - and we have been working really hard over the last 18 months to find a solution. The PaperTies are designed to be as effective as plastic or metal ties, but can be torn easily by hand - no more accidents trying to cut plastic and wire ties on Christmas Day, and no more frustrated children waiting to play with their new toy. Roger Wright, Head of Technical Packaging General Merchandise, at M&S said: -By utilising the mechanical strength of the Fibreform material from BillerudKorsnas, the paper ties have passed our transit trials, and crucially are able to be torn by hand across the tie under the locking 'head'. We partnered with one of M&S key partner printers and our toy factories to trial and refine the idea ahead of the launch and we have succeeded in making a cost effective, more environmentally friendly alternative, which will delight our customers when they open the box.

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