Do we need another package?

The Packplay concept, which relies on the creativity of students from around the world to support packaging ecodesign, emerged from the mind of Sylvain Allard, professor and director of the École de design de l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). In collaboration with major partner Éco Entreprises Québec, Allard and Geneviève Dionne, ecodesign advisor at ÉEQ, established the project’s three components: an international competition for design schools, an exhibition of the winning projects and a course book on packaging ecodesign that revisits the projects submitted to the competition.  


“ÉEQ and I wanted to create a bilingual pedagogical tool that experts could use to design ecoresponsible packaging. We have written a work that will certainly become a reference for the industry and designers.”

– Sylvain Allard, professor and director of the École de design de l’UQAM


The Packplay 2 competition was a great success, attracting 181 projects submitted by 19 schools and universities located in 11 countries (Canada, US, France, Switzerland. Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Portugal and India) and calling upon student innovation in the aesthetics and functionalities of the packaging options that were developed. Driven by life cycle thinking, the approach encouraged participants to consider the environmental impacts of their packaging, from sourcing to end of life.

A long list of winners!

Three awards were handed out in categories to recognize excellence in materials, ecodesign, design and communication, user experience, end of life and new vision.

Université de Montréal won the Grand prix Vision nouvelle and the Grand prix Fin de vie. HTW Germany received the Grand prix de l’Expérience utilisateur, and the Grand Prix Matériaux went to Nackademin in Sweden. The Grand Prix Matériaux was awarded to Politecnico di Milano in Italy and the Grand Prix Communication et Design and Grand Prix d’Écoconception to students enrolled in an exchange program between UQAM and HEAD in Switzerland.

The UQAM students who took part in the competition distinguished themselves. The Grand Prix Packplay 2 was awarded to Mathilde Noblet for her Kaolin cosmetics containers, which are made of 100% white clay and make it possible to use the product and its packaging in their entirety. Tatiana Matsoulevitch and Noé St-Onge received the Grand Prix ÉEQ for their potential solution based on materials separation for laminated packaging, which remains difficult to recycle.


“For several years, ÉEQ has been working to promote ecodesign in order to reduce the environmental impacts of containers, packaging and printed matter. We are very proud to help value the research, innovation and reach of the work of tomorrow’s designers!”

– Maryse Vermette, president and CEO, ÉEQ


A reference for all

Do we Really Need Another Package? is the bold title of the bilingual course manual coauthored and produced by Geneviève Dionne and Sylvain Allard based on Packplay 2. It provides educational content on packaging ecodesign and includes a catalogue of the student projects submitted to the competition. It may be purchased (in paper format) and will soon also be available online.

The book, which aims to be included on the reading lists of several design programs, provides an overview of the packaging development process—from materials selection to production, conditioning, distribution and use to end of life—and highlights best practices. The projects submitted to the Packplay 2 competition are used to support and illustrate the content.