Carmen Tran, Product Design Engineering
DraffPack is a packaging design for whisky bottles. It is made from a material created using the waste draff (barley) produced in whisky distillation. Currently 12000 tonnes of draff is produced each year, this is normally either sold as livestock feed or used in anaerobic digestion. The aim of DraffPack is to create a new purpose for the waste draff that extends its useful lifetime before it gets biodegraded by animals or an AD plant.
On the customer’s end, there is a huge variation in the styles of whisky packaging available which causes confusion when it comes to properly disposing of it. This problem was especially prevalent in the hospitality industry which was found through interviewing bars about their disposal of whisky packaging. A biodegradable carton creates a convenient solution as it can be added to general waste without fuss.
The material was created by incorporating draff and abaca paper (teabags) into a traditional paper making process. The cellulose fibres in the draff and abaca give the material strength. During this process a minimum amount of raw material was used by using recycled tea bags and draff carried from a local distillery.
To scale up this production, the material could be made on-site at distilleries using the distillation equipment already in place as the production only requires draff, abaca paper and water. This greatly reduces emissions as the heavy draff does not have to be transported miles to be turned into card.
The design of the box itself was created to reduce emissions by being flatpackable which makes it more efficient to transport. No glue is required to assemble the box which makes it easy to dismantle for disposal and it is completely biodegardable. The inks chosen to print the branding materials are also biodegradable and produce no volatile organic compounds that are harmful to the environment.
DraffPack aims to create a circular economy by interrupting the supply chain to give new life to an overlooked resource.