Appropriating the existing Resin Identification Code, we hope to develop a more intuitive and legible global graphic standard. Most products only indicate information (i.e. nutritional value as implemented by the Nutrition Labelling and Education Act of 1990 in the US) related to the perishable contents of the container. Our aim is to readily indicate any information pertaining to the exterior containers, as well, to consumers. In societies that are growing more conscious of the environment, a holistic understanding of product life cycles is vital for its sustainability.
We have been drawing examples from the cigarette industry and its implementation of warning signs on products to properly inform consumers and deter them from purchasing tobacco products in the first place. During our research we found that health-warning labels on cigarette packs appeared 50 years ago due to The Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965 in the US. In 2011, the FDA published the final rules to accompany color images that depict negative health consequences of smoking. There have been extensive studies regarding the effectiveness of pictorial warning labels. The conclusion is that bold visual images tended to be more impactful in terms of affecting consumer behaviour than having just text. Due to communication inequalities, the ability to understand and process health information differed within disadvantaged communities. As such, images helped get the message across to all demographics, including non-literate individuals. Positive effects of any social policy endeavors should equally benefit and apply to all racial and class groups. Consequently, the images will only have a similar effect if consumers accept plastic usage to be harmful to personal health or consider environmental protection to be as vital as human well-being.
It is a well-known fact that non-biodegradable plastics physically harm the oceans and its marine life. But for landlocked communities, these issues can be less visible and relatable. Plastics affect communities in various and widely different ways. For example in Delhi, one of few cities to ban all forms of disposable plastic, unchecked burning of plastics had been causing air pollution and potential health hazards. In Manila and Addis Ababa, trash landslides have taken many lives. Coordinating with local municipalities, we can also customize the visuals to address the concerns of the community.
The developed graphic standards will have 3 tiers.
Index Logos- Most basic form of the graphic standard that can be placed on any sized product including caps and straws. Simple number that indicates life cycle in units of years. Outer shape of icon indicates effects on human health or environment.
Visuals- Similar to Tobacco warning labels, will boldly demonstrate the harsh effects of plastic packaging to deter certain purchases- if space of product and labels allow.
Material Composition Labels- Contains more specific information regarding material of packaging and its potential effects. Will be placed beside fact labels containing information of product within container.
All images in submission were made by our team.