Two Industrial Design students, Marcus Lee and Dora Ferenczi, have had success in the prestigious Southern Cross Packaging Awards.

Marcus was awarded silver prize in the 'Packaging, Society and Consumers’ category and Dora was awarded Bronze in the ‘Accessible Packaging’ category.

Inspired by the shocking statistics on gum pollution, Marcus’ dynamic gum dispenser features a gum disposal compartment, meaning less chewing gum ends up in particularly inconvenient and environmentally unfriendly places, and instead ends up in the bin with the empty packet.

The design considers many different factors throughout all stages of its life, from the use of environmentally sensible materials during production, its efficiency in a retail environment and recyclability. On an environmental level, Marcus’ design also reduces the toxic chemicals needed to sterilise and remove littered gum which can take up to five years to biodegrade, in turn, reducing the amount of expenditure needed to fund gum removal activities (150 million pounds is spent by the UK government each year to fund such activities). 

“I believe that my product takes a very different approach to previous packaging attempts to tackle gum pollution. By utilising the negative space that is actively created in the package, I have developed an innovative and efficient design solution, which has really never been seen before,” said Marcus.

He says the award has offered him inspiration and invigoration.

“The Southern Cross packaging award means so much to me. It has really given me an insight to what is expected beyond university and given me the signal that I am on the right track toward my future career goals,” he said.

Dora's challenge was to select an existing product/type of packaging that requires a tool, knife or scissors to open the pack and then create an accessible design that eliminates the ness for a tool.

In addition to improving accessibility, her product, which is used to package toilet tissue, reduces impact on the environment. 'Planex' features a dispenser with an easy to locate and open tab, making it easy to take out toilet rolls without having to tear the packaging. It also has a handle which makes it easier to grip and carry the product which is currently difficult with the existing plastic packaging design. The seed infused cardboard encourages further consideration around how packaging is disposed and promotes composting.

“I was inspired to create packaging that makes the interaction with this product easier for consumers, starting from the moment the product is picked up from the shelf, to transportation from retail environment to home, through to the opening, storage and disposal of the product once in the home,” said Dora.

“It’s great to be recognised for something that started out as an idea and quickly transformed into a product. This recognition brings a confidence to my process and execution of ideas.”

Marcus and Dora are now in the running for a package of prizes from the Australian Institute of Packaging and their projects will feature on the Southern Cross Packaging Website as of November 28.