The winners of Pentawards 2022 were revealed during a live Gala Ceremony last Friday, with various entrants displaying their innovations in reusability, recyclability, and sustainable design.

Urban Forest Lifestyle took home the highest honour, winning the Diamond award for its Pocket Neck Pillow; its outer packaging, shaped like a tree, is made of silicon. This flexibility allows it to function as both a storage bag and a functioning air pump, increasing its reusability.

Other prize winners include Ruska Martín Associates’ RE:INCARNATED SPIRITS, which aims to contribute to a circular economy with its ‘100% sustainable design solution’. The glass bottle itself is supposedly made entirely from recycled post-consumer glass, its cork from those recycled after previous use in sparkling red wine. The label is said to be printed on uncoated paper made from post-consumer recycled fibres and grape waste. The bottles are apparently delivered in uncoated cardboard boxes, with its padding recycled from Euro bank notes that were deemed unfit for public use and shredded.

Jenny Greenwood, Innovation and Sustainability manager at Butterfly Cannon, praised the design: “They talk about the glass, glue, ink, material, and every single element in great detail. They’ve managed to keep the luxury and premium cues for a sustainable product.”

Martí Garcés Muntalt, Lesley Melissa Batista Víquez and Trinidad Mosso Tupper, representing Elisava, were the winners in the NXT-GEN, Best Student Work category for the utilisation of FORMcard (created by Peter Marigold) as toothbrush packaging. The bioplastic is non-toxic and can reportedly be melted an infinite number of times to fit into a circular economy, whether it be to make more packaging or the toothbrush itself. PHB is used in place of single-use packaging and blisters.

Uwe Melichar, president of EPDA and packaging expert and owner of Melichar Bros., commended the company for “thinking outside the box”, “even if the material doesn’t exist”.

Some of the winners were nominated for unrelated categories, yet their designs were still said to contain sustainable features or exhibit pro-sustainability messaging. BANGBANG’s BEANBEAN series, the packaging of which claims to be 100% compostable and screen-printed by hand with water-based ink. It was awarded the Branding and Consumer Platinum prize. Grand Design also made a statement of ‘anti-pollution’ with a minimalist ‘slash’ design on its ShinkoQ bottle.

Speaking about this year’s entries in general, Adam Ryan, head of Pentawards, said: “From addressing today’s social agenda to carving out sustainable packaging alternatives, this year’s Pentawards entrants embody the future of the industry. I am always blown away by the calibre of our winners, and this year is no exception, particularly inspiring given the challenges we have all faced over the past couple of years.

“The Pentawards pipeline continues to prove the unquestionable power of design and set the barometer for the next generation of creative thinkers.”

The outcome of the ceremony falls in line with recent research by James Cropper that environmentalism is one of the biggest influences on packaging design in recent years, alongside social media and diversity and inclusion.

Pentawards previously commented that the latter is not a passing trend, and that companies will need to offer more than a “token nod” when honouring minority communities in packaging design.