Many of us often find ourselves with leftover grains that we cannot finish within their shelf life. Recognizing this issue, the designers behind Co-Grain sought to create a way to reduce grain waste while also providing food for birds in urban areas. They were inspired by the sight of birds eating discarded grains and the difficulty they face in finding food amidst rapid urbanization.
Co-Grain stands out as an innovative cereal package that offers a new possibility beyond its primary function. When consumers purchase the cereal and find themselves unable to finish it before the expiration date, they can easily transform the package into a bird feeder. By following the instructions provided, users can convert the package into a simple bird feeder and place it in wooded areas, parks, or other locations frequented by birds.
The Co-Grain package is made of high-strength kraft paper, printed with packaging patterns and text. It is then coated on the surface, cut into sheets using die-cutting machines, and assembled into a complete grain package. The package is filled with the appropriate amount of grain and sealed according to the quantity. The dimensions of the package are 86mm in length, 100mm in width, and 225mm in height.
To convert the cereal package into a bird feeder, users need to follow four simple steps. First, they pull open the tear ring at the top of the package to form a lanyard part that can be hung on a tree. Then, they tear the bottom of the package along the dotted line to detach a part of it, creating an empty space. Next, they insert the bottom bracket into the groove, creating a standing platform for the birds. Finally, they tear open the inner tear to provide a feeding opening for the birds.
The Co-Grain design not only addresses the issue of grain waste but also promotes bird conservation and symbiosis between humans and birds. By sharing their leftover cereal with birds, users contribute to reducing waste and providing food for urban birds struggling to find sustenance in their changing habitats.
The Co-Grain project was conducted in Hangzhou, starting on January 2, 2023, and ending on January 17, 2023. Extensive research was conducted on household cereal purchases and waste, the impact of urbanization on birds, and the coexistence of humans and urban birds. Through user interviews, profiling, and journey mapping, the designers identified the need for a design solution that utilizes cereal packaging to address grain waste and promote bird survival.
During the design process, the team faced the challenge of integrating the structure of the bird feeder with the cereal package without increasing its cost. Implementing a platform for the birds to stand on within the cereal package proved to be a significant hurdle. However, through creative problem-solving and technical expertise, they successfully overcame this challenge.
Co-Grain has received recognition for its innovative design. It was awarded the Bronze A' Design Award in Packaging Design in 2023. This prestigious award is bestowed upon designs that demonstrate creativity, resourcefulness, and a commitment to improving quality of life. Co-Grain's practical and sustainable solution contributes to reducing waste and fostering a harmonious relationship between humans and nature.
Co-Grain is a testament to the power of design in addressing environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices. By repurposing cereal packaging into bird feeders, this innovative design encourages individuals to take small steps towards reducing waste and making a positive impact on the world around them.
Project Designers: Lide Ma
Image Credits: Lide Ma
Project Team Members: Designer: Zhiyi Zou Designer: Yuxuan Mao
Project Name: Co-Grain
Project Client: Lide Ma