Giuseppe Fasano, designer and co-founder at LUFT PARCEL, talks us though his inspiration, project and process through his participation in The European Social Innovation Completion

My background is in design and I have been involved in packaging design for several years. Through my work, I noticed that the demand for sustainable packaging was increasing and I started considering the environmental impact of what I was designing: Is it recyclable? How efficient is the recycling system? What is the impact in terms of water, energy, chemicals usage? Does it contribute to emission related to climate change? It was a big learning curve for me.

One day, I came across an article written by a Greenpeace activist, asking a simple question about where all this Amazon boxes go!? That opened my eyes further to the strain that e-commerce packaging is creating for our environment.

 I asked myself if I could combine my experience in design with my awareness of the environmental impact of packaging, and develop a solution that could offer an answer to the increased packaging waste due to the e-commerce industry booming.

And that was how Luft Parcel came about.

Recycling alone is not enough…

We are often encouraged to recycle but did you know that plastics (and cardboard) can only be recycled a limited number of times? These materials are not infinitely recyclable! So while we support standard recycling, we also need to understand that:

“efforts to transform plastic recycling should be seen as a complement to the large-scale transformation of production and consumption of plastic. As a priority, we call for investment in solutions that aim at reduction, in particular for reuse, repair, and new delivery and return systems.”
Greenpeace

And this is what we are doing! Your online order arrives in a ‘Luft Parcel’, which is an inflatable mailer that you can deflate and fold back to a very small size. It has a prepaid stamp that you just need to put in a post box and it goes back to the retailer and they can use it again – up to 30 times!

If the same packaging is reused only 20 times we avoid 19 rounds of unnecessary re-cycling and manufacturing, not only decreasing the total amount of waste produced but also reducing substantially the CO2 emission.

Of the many early ideas we had, I become more and more convinced that returnable and reusable packaging is a strong answer to a lot of issues related to the environment crisis we are in at the moment.

Joining The European Social Innovation Award

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey. And there are so many hats to wear. The European Social Innovation Competition gave me the chance to feel part of a group, learning from mine and others experience and the expertise of my peers. I think this feeling will stay with me even after the competition comes to an end.

In addition, the guidance, motivation and emotional support received in working with a personal mentor and coach was priceless. I certainly enjoyed participating in the Academy, which was not only very stimulating and inspiring with many focused sessions, but also hosted in the beautiful city of Turin.