Shake, rattle and roll: Packaging science team demonstrates testing techniques at Imagine RIT

Packaging students display milk jug igloo and alternative materials through ‘Re-Packaging for Tomorrow’

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More than 500 plastic milk jugs have been collected and will become a sustainable igloo by the time of the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival on May 2. Built by students in the packaging science program, the igloo will be part of several exhibits featuring sustainable packaging initiatives.

How many times has a package arrived through the mail looking like it was on the field during a World Cup match? Did the product inside survive?

Learn more about how packaging products are tested to endure challenges along the route from store to home at the “Packaging—Will it Survive?” exhibit during the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival. Faculty and students in RIT’s packaging science department will demonstrate how packages are tested in simulated distribution and design situations in its Dynamics Lab, located in Louise Slaughter Hall, room 1290.

The Dynamics Lab is certified as an International Safe Transit Association Test Lab with equipment to test for shock, vibration and compression and how these parameters might affect packages and products. In addition to being a teaching lab, the facility is used by industry for testing.

Demonstrations of drops, shocks and vibrations will take place throughout the day.

Once packages are delivered though, might they have a second life?

Emphasizing sustainable packaging options in its program, the packaging science department will display alternatives as part of its “Re-Packaging for Tomorrow” initiative:

  • A poster exhibit of Packaging for Tomorrow and Beyond is a virtual trip to the year 2050 and will show how packaging could interface with the smart living spaces of the future.
  • Re-Packaging for Tomorrow Project displays and activities will include arts and crafts using recycled materials and an igloo made out of milk jugs.

“Repackaging for Tomorrow” advocates sustainability and up-cycling of wasted materials, said Yuwei Qaio, a second-year packaging science student from Taiyan, China.

“Participants will get better ideas of how wasted packages can be converted to craft projects or home decorations,” she said, adding that volunteers from the packaging program collected the materials and participants at the Imagine RIT festival will be able to make their own crafts from water or juice bottles, glass bottles or cereal boxes.

The same student volunteers collected more than 500 milk jugs to construct a sustainable igloo. After a thorough cleaning, the student-team will begin building it and have it completed in time for the festival.

Both exhibits will be located in the lobby of Slaughter Hall.