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Special feature: Environmentally-conscious packaging design

Pursuing higher goals, based on accumulated technologies.

The packages you two have designed won an award at the Japan Packaging Contest held by Japan Packaging Institute.

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Itano:Yes. We have received awards at the Contest for seven consecutive years since 2004. In 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009, we also won a WorldStar in the WorldStar Competition held by the World Packaging Organization (WPO), which only winners of the Japan Packaging Contest are eligible to enter.

Nakamura:We decided to enter the contest initially for the purpose of making our attempts in packaging design known to the public. Winning a prize for seven straight years is really an honor, though it has also put the pressure on us in recent years!

Itano:To be honest, I feel relieved that both of the entries we made won an award. Among the 3Rs, we place the highest emphasis on "Reduce." Our efforts in reducing the total amount of packaging materials while promoting the use of paper-based materials seemed to be highly evaluated in the contest.

Besides making entries to contests, do you take any other actions to advertise your attempts outside of the Company?

Nakamura:Not only for advertising purposes but also for the purpose of creating opportunities for ourselves to exchange information with other companies, we actively participate in events of industry groups and workshops and introduce our attempts to people outside the Company.

Itano:In September 2009, we held the "Kansai Transport Packaging Discussion" meeting as a special workshop of the Kansai Branch of the Japan Packaging Institute. Participants from various companies engaged in heated discussions on the themes that had been decided based on a questionnaire survey conducted in advance. This meeting was favorably received by the participants.

Nakamura:I think this event contributed to some degree to the vitalization of the packaging industry. I hope we can continue to be involved in this type of activity.

What is the ideal form of packaging? How do you think packaging should evolve?

Nakamura:I think no packaging at all would be the best.

Itano:I agree. I think the ultimate form of packaging is "no packaging at all."

Nakamura:However, it is actually difficult to completely eliminate packaging. I think it is ideal if all packaging materials are reused and recycled, using IT and irrespective of the borders between companies.

Itano:I think packaging will be increasingly influenced by trends in logistics. Promoting recycling "irrespective of the borders between companies," as Nakamura just said, is a good idea. Collaborative actions between companies such as the shared use of trucks on roundtrips should be encouraged more vigorously.

Finally, tell us your dreams and goals for the future.

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Nakamura:In recent years, the packaging industry has been increasingly showing interest in paper-based packaging materials, in consideration of the environment. Seeing this trend of the industry, I feel like our efforts in promoting the use of paper-based materials are justified, and I am proud of my work. My dream now is to win the JAPAN STAR award, the top prize of the Japan Packaging Contest. To realize this dream, I hope younger members will soon be able to take over our work. I think we should steadily hand over the know-how we have accumulated concerning environmentally-conscious packaging to the younger generation.

Itano:I think the person who first thought of the current form of a corrugated cardboard box was a genius. It can be folded and assembled quickly. I want to create a new packaging material that is simple but useful to society, like a corrugated cardboard box. Though it is still an obscure goal, I hope to establish a packaging method that can be immediately typically identified as "Kyocera Mita's packaging."

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Items awarded at the Japan Packaging Contest

Items marked with are also winners of the WorldStar of the World Packaging Organization.
Fiscal year Award winning items Features
2004 Color MFP KM-C2630D Packaged using only corrugated cardboard, without styrene foam.
2005 General-purpose molded pulp cushion Made from environmentally-conscious molded pulp, contributing also to improved efficiency in packaging work.
2006 Toner container (TK-310) Packaging achieved using one corrugated cardboard sheet, making assembly easier. Glue is not used.
2007 Corrugated cardboard packaging of glass sheets for copiers Fragile glass sheets are packaged using corrugated cardboard.
Reusable cushion for drum transport Reusable cushioning material made from recyclable PET material. Its ingenious shape has realized reduced volume and improved transport efficiency.
2008 Color printer FS-C5300DN Cushioning using only corrugated cardboard. The amount of material used was reduced through commonization of cushions for both right and left sides and integration of components.
2009 Color printer FS-C5400 DN cushion
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Packaging of a product of the maximum bearable weight of 33.5 kg was realized using molded pulp. The number of packaging items was reduced through commonization of packaging components and the employment of thinning and weight-reducing techniques.
2010 Black-and-white MFP FS-3040MFP
Sliding tray system package
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Package that allows products to be pulled out horizontally, so as to make unpacking easier, with the aim of improving usability.
Toner
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Downsized the conventional package shape that inhibits vertical placement, to prevent toner powder from hardening. Efficiency in handling and the ease of removing the product was improved.
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Thorough verification and feedback have improved both products and packages.

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