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May 26, 2016 9:19 AM

Packaging students win design challenge

Students in Conestoga’s Packaging Engineering Technician program won first place in the Just One Package Innovation Challenge held May 18 at the Mississauga Convention Centre.

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Packaging Engineering Technician students Lindsay Van Wyck, Eduardo Diniz Souza and Kelly Goodwin won first place in the Packaging Consortium’s Innovation Challenge held May 18.

Hosted by the Packaging Consortium (PAC), the event challenged university and college students to find sustainable solutions to eliminate waste and cost in the supply chain. PAC is a non-profit organization that drives progressive change in the packaging chain through leadership, collaboration and knowledge sharing for its 2,200 North American members.

First-year students Lindsay Van Wyck, Kelly Goodwin and Eduardo Diniz Souza represented Conestoga and were required to design a packaging solution related to Walmart Canada’s plastic bag waste reduction initiative, which reduces consumer reliance on single-use bags. The goal of the challenge was to eliminate the need to bag mid- to large-sized items and design product packaging for easy handling and transportation to the home. The students could select any product that would typically be placed in a bag.

Van Wyck, Goodwin and Souza applied their skills to design a cube-shaped box for cat litter that incorporated a handle so the product could be carried, rather than placed into a bag.

"Our solution, the Cube, redesigned traditional lay flat and rigid packaging to create a more convenient, cost effective and sustainable package when compared to plastic bags,” explained van Wyck. “The Cube is made from recyclable flexible polyethylene, utilizes an internal baffle design to provide rigidity when filled -- to increase pallet and truck space optimization -- and incorporates a die cut handle and zipper into the package for added convenience.”

The students presented their solution to a panel of retail experts who questioned the customer and retail convenience of the design and product flexibility objectives.

“The Packaging Engineering program is new to Conestoga and we are very proud of our first year students who won the competition,” said program chair, Luis Garcia. 

Program faculty member Sarah Pomfrey was also pleased with the results: “Our first-year students have set the bar high with their innovative and creative spirit. I can’t wait to see what they will bring to the industry next year.”

Students in Conestoga’s two-year Packaging Engineering Technician diploma program develop the skills and knowledge to design and evaluate packaging from a variety of materials, including metal, glass, paper and plastic. Visit the program page for more information.

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