TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE AWARENESS: BIOMIMICRY METHODOLOGY FOR REUSABLE PACKAGING
Those problems and challenges that currently make up the planetary emergency situation have prompted various initiatives to promote awareness of the importance of sustainability, in all areas. This includes the position of higher education institutions, committed to learning ethical, social and environmental values. Integrating these contents as a fundamental part of undergraduate training, to inspire responsible behaviors, values and actions in future professionals and prepare them for making conscious and informed decisions. In the current study plans of the various disciplines, subjects related to ethics, sustainability and social responsibility have been incorporated, which as a whole are providing the bases for generating ecological awareness in students. In current educational settings and from an appropriate pedagogical approach, students can provide viable solutions in their context, allowing them to develop a systemic vision of reality and the possibilities of responsibly influencing their environment. To raise awareness from the classrooms, this experience proposes a model of pedagogical practice, in which third-year Design students face sustainable problems, raising awareness about them. For this, it has been proposed to project the design and development of a sustainable packaging, based on reuse, that is, it is not discarded immediately, it can be used on more than one occasion, generating savings for the producer and the consumer, collaborating with the environment, and in many cases, increasing the value proposition. The object / product to be packaged is chosen by the students according to their tendencies and motivation. The methodology addressed in this project focuses on the concepts used in biomimicry, through which students analyze and apply packaging solutions, observed in nature, in the definition of their problem. Biomimicry, applied in design, studies nature in its form-materiality-function balance, looking for solutions usable by man for his artificial environment. In the same way, it refers to imitating models, systems, processes or elements of nature to transfer them and solve human problems.
The stages that were followed in the development of the methodology were:
1) Choice and characterization of the product for which the packaging will be designed.
2) Look for examples of packaging in nature and analyze how it solves them.
3) Develop the conceptualization process based on biomimicry.
4) Design of the packaging considering reuse in its occupation.
The correlation, qualified in the results, between the observation of nature and the designs made by the students, show that they have managed to discover and successfully apply a discipline and method unknown, until now, to them. With it, the student has been able to create a reusable packaging design, from an unprecedented perspective, in symbiosis with the product, its protection and the sustainability of its environment. Likewise, it is concluded that the theme of packaging is an inexhaustible territory, in the same way that the opportunities for exploration are limitless, based on biomimicry, whose source of inspiration, nature, has also been useful for creation of new innovative technologies. And for this experience, a product with a longer useful life and not seen as immediate waste has been achieved with the packaging, whose technique also participates in the comprehensive training of the student.