Packaging has been considered a necessary evil—until now, as designers are finding creative ways to encase products in materials that serve a second function, from measuring tape to toys

Before the industrial revolution, households produced little to no waste, either completely using or repurposing all of their items—a reality that is nearly unimaginable in today's world of trash receptacles, recycle bins and landfills. One major contributor to the problem of accumulated waste is packaging for purchased goods, which is at best recyclable and at worst fills the dump.

To combat this issue, brands are focusing on intentional design and educational materials that extend the lives of packaging, implementing playful and utilitarian use cases that encourage creative reuse or even serve a second purpose of their very own. Here's how five brands are rethinking packaging design to reduce waste and enhance the product experience:

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