It's no secret that most modern packaging raises environmental concerns. While the content inside goes bad after days or weeks, most packaging solutions are made to last for years or even decades, and many biodegradable packaging materials today require industrial composting.
The GoneShells bottle is made of an innovative biodegradable material that challenges conventional ideas about packaging design. Inspired by how nature protects its content, Tomorrow Machine and their partners, the global juice company Eckes Granini and the branding agency F&B Happy, set out to develop a juice bottle made from material so pure you can eat it – think along the lines of a fruit peel. The ultimate goal is to develop packaging that can decompose without industrial processes.
Biodegradable packaging itself is not a new concept. What makes GoneShells unique is the speed and multiple alternatives of degradation. When the project is ready for the market, the bottle can be eaten, home-composted, or even dissolved under your water tap in the kitchen sink.
Anna Glansén, the founder of Tomorrow Machine, explained: "With a bottle designed to be torn apart after it has been used, like the peel of a fruit, the idea is that one can speed up the decomposition process. When you break the packaging and put it in contact with water, a natural reaction starts to break down the bottle immediately – and that's how we created a bottle that can disappear by itself."
The base material for GoneShells is potato, but aesthetically, Tomorrow Machine was inspired by oranges. Anna Glansén told Creative Boom: "Our biggest inspiration for the packaging is the constructions and functionality from fruits – and oranges in particular. We have looked at how you peel an orange and made that into a part of the concept."
"The packaging is intentionally designed to be peeled like citrus fruit," Glansén said. "And once you break the barrier, that starts the decomposition process of the material."
Cleverly, Tomorrow Machine has also incorporated brand equity into the bottles' design. Brämhults, the luxury juice range from Eckes Granini that will serve as an early trial for GoneShells, has an iconic bottle with rifling at the top. Anna Glansén told Creative Boom: "We wanted to do something different but still keep the original feel of the bottle – and at the same time use the design element for a sustainable function. It felt natural to use oranges for inspiration since the fresh squeezed orange juice from Brämhults has been a bestseller and their most iconic product for decades."
Tomorrow Machine and its partners see GoneShells as more than a brand and innovation exercise – it's a research project aiming to ultimately replace fossil-based materials and question the lifespan of today's packaging.
By developing packaging with a lifespan that better matches the content inside, the team behind GoneShells aims to offer a new form of sustainable packaging which skips recycling systems in a traditional sense.
Maria Glansén, Design director at F&B Happy, the branding partner on the GoneShells project, told Creative Boom, "Conventional recyclable packaging is one key for a circular transition, but it's not the only solution for sustainable packaging. For example, there are many situations where it is not possible to recycle used packaging, and many countries lack infrastructure for recycling or industrial composting. With a material that can break down fast and easily in different ways, we want to offer a different type of packaging solution that reduces environmental impact and a product that meets the problems with packaging ending up in nature, oceans and landfills."
GoneShells is also supported by the strategic innovation program BioInnovation, a joint venture by Vinnova, Formas, and the Swedish Energy Agency, alongside experts from the RISE Research Institute of Sweden.
According to Glansén and Glansén, the initial phases of the testing process show great potential. Reps from Eckes Granini shared that they are excited to continue developing sustainable packaging that minimizes environmental impact.