The cardboard packaging is a key component of Waarmakers' DIY R16 lamp.
Millions of tonnes of waste packaging wind up in landfill each year, presenting a serious environmental concern. Some manufacturers have taken pains to reduce their impact – Apple for instance, are renowned for their compact, stylish packaging. Others have made packaging a virtue: one Australian company encourages buyers to use their packaging as furniture, while a Brazilian fast-food chain uses edible wrappers on its food to reduce waste.
Now, Dutch design studio Waarmakers have created a waste-free lamp. For the R16 – a cardboard ceiling light – the packaging is a fundamental component of the product, meaning that nothing is wasted. The light arrives tightly packed into a long cylinder, along with string and hooks for hanging the finished product. A strip pulls away from the cardboard cylinder, leaving space through which the light itself can glow. The LED rod is fixed in place by a standard pencil — a final flourish of the R16’s DIY aesthetic.
As well as minimizing packaging waste, the lamp possesses a second environmental advantage: using an LED rather than a conventional bulb. LEDs waste very little energy as heat and can be 80 percent more efficient than standard fluorescent or incandescent lights. But these advantages come at a price — the R16 costs EUR 199.
Are there other companies that could turn packaging from a vice to a virtue?