The Estonian packaging system faces challenges in transitioning to a circular economy and meeting EU regulations. There has been no significant progress in making the packaging more circular over the past ten years, and the cooperation among stakeholders has been relatively weak thus far.
The packaging system is inherently a social system consisting of a number of interconnected services. At the same time, the packaging system is embedded within the next level of the larger system. This gives rise to numerous wicked problems that cannot be resolved in isolation. To navigate in these interrelated complexities we need to embrace new ways of looking at the world.
In my work I was seeking ways to find alternatives to human-centred design when solving problems of complex, multi-system, and multi-stakeholder services. Unlike individual services, systems do not have a single owner. Hence, I adopted a systemic approach to engage stakeholders, generate knowledge, and identify meaningful intervention points within the system.
As a result, a Packaging Design Guide was developed, serving as a catalyst for discussions within companies responsible for packaging-related waste and across the entire value chain of the packaging system.