These last several months have been pretty eye-opening for me; I’ve mostly been doing research about package design (and some web design, though I’m a bit timid to admit this, because I’m clueless when it comes to the subject!), and I’ve been learning a ton: how things are made, where the materials come from, what the printing options are, etc. etc…. and I feel like I’ve only just seen the tip of this iceberg.

But some of the things we’ve been wanting to do for ZO turn out to be pretty hard, if not impossible. Using recycled glass to make the glass jars and bottles for the products – this I thought would be a piece of cake. Turns out, if you can only order small quantities of things and don’t have the budget to custom-make your containers, you’re actually very limited in your options. Oh, there are options – don’t get me wrong – they’re just not what I’m looking for, stylistically or aesthetically. (And to a designer, what’s more important than that??)

I posted earlier about a book called Cradle to Cradle, and how it’s really had an impact on me. I feel like there’s been a giant shift in my perception of what it means to live sustainably. Seriously – like what it means to recycle, and how being good by recycling isn’t really good enough when it comes to preserving our resources. But what I love the most about the book is that it’s not really a guilt-inducing, finger-pointing type of manifesto; it’s actually pretty inspiring, and makes me want to try to create totally new ways of making things. (Try! I said.) The sweet spot here is to find a way to manufacture your product so that no waste at all is produced (or, I should say, the “waste” that is produced can go back into the system as a benefit for something else). It’s all a system, after all, this world we’re living in, and currently severely out of balance.

I’m paraphrasing here, and pretty awfully I might add, but that’s kind of the general sense of the book. Anyway, it’s become quite a buzz phrase, “cradle to cradle,” and not to jump on the bandwagon or anything, but there are companies out there who are making major changes in the way they manufacture products – and how amazing would it be to actually initiate change on this level? Hm.

All that to say, I’ve been inspired by this book. And I hope to have the chance to do some things differently, when it comes to the making of our packaging and products. There are lots of things to consider, of course, and believe me it can get overwhelming, but I’ve finally accepted that this is a process, and I’ll just continue on this road, and see where it leads.

Change is hard. But often, a very good thing.