Understanding the secondary functions of packaging : UK domestic reuse.

SHIPTON, Janet M. (2007). Understanding the secondary functions of packaging : UK domestic reuse. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

This thesis describes a programme of research that provides an understanding of the effect of time and space on the processing and reuse of packaging by consumers. It seeks through ethnographic research techniques and design evaluation to propose a conceptual framework for understanding the phenomenon of packaging reuse in the UK.The study recognises that many consumers creatively 'misuse' packaging without 'explicit persuasion or reward' and aims to gain a greater understanding of the way consumers take meanings from objects and find secondary uses for them to suit their own needs whether born out of necessity or playfulness. While much research investigates consumers' attitudes to branding strategy and packaging design to increase product sales, there is little evidence of work carried out that looks into the post-purchase issues of how consumers interact, reuse and dispose of packaging within their domestic environment.The study takes the constructionist perspective that meaning of objects is created through interaction and use. It is also broadly phenomenological in its approach, with the objective to leave behind, or escape, the conventional mind-set of design - where designers are accustomed to commanding and specifying the form of the material world. This research requires the prosaic processes of consumption to be witnessed, but from a design perspective, bringing with it an understanding of the effect of changes to the form and function of objects. The study is based on a user-centred design approach and is interested in the way consumers behave with packaging, in order to provide effective approaches for designing for consumer interaction and reuse.Evaluation of existing and new designs was appropriate to this study and allowed frequent testing and analysis of the findings from the various research exercises. The designs were represented in 2D and 3D pack formats and evaluated using observation and semi-structured interviews.The study builds on a broad range of literature and develops themes particular to packaging in the areas of consumption, material values, the functions of objects, consumer types and ultimately presents theories regarding consumer behaviour when using and processing products and packaging within the home.The contribution of this study is an understanding of how three main elements affect packaging reuse: the design of the object, the context/ environment the object is within, and the consumer type. Through evaluation of the research data, a scheme is presented that provides new knowledge as to the spatial and temporal aspects of packaging reuse. It presents the types of further functions UK consumers can recognise in packaging once its primary function is over, and how designers can build opportunities for reuse into packaging design.The findings are useful to those interested in packaging design strategy, sociological researchers interested in aspects of consumption, and researchers from wider disciplines. The thesis also provides insights into consumer behaviour, their attitudes to material objects and acceptance of waste that are relevant to those interested in sustainable design, however the principal outcomes of this study are new insights into consumer practices, that may influence design decisions in the packaging industry and more widely.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2007.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:22
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2018 17:22
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20359

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