New, recycled packaging for aibo

A revolutionary new packaging is born. aibo arrives snugly wrapped, and protected from damage, in a felt package produced from 50% recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle - Sony eco design principles

In line with its "Road to Zero" global environmental plan, Sony continues to work toward reducing consumption, and increasing the reuse and recycling of materials, across its products and business activities.

Protecting precious things

aibo’s new recycled packaging snugly holds and protects, until aibo is born into a new family. It’s entirely manufactured from a felt that uses recycled material from plastic bottles, and can be shaped to fit aibo or other products.

Image of Award-winning sustainable packaging
Award-winning sustainable packaging

Recognised in the prestigious Asian Packaging Federation AsiaStar awards    

The Asian Packaging Federation has awarded the prestigious AsiaStar 2018 award in the Eco-Package (Environmentally Sustainable Package) category to the aibo package developed by Sony. The award recognises packaging “designed with special consideration for the environmental impacts of the package and product during its whole lifecycle.”

How the package is made

From plastic bottles to aibo’s new package

Plastic bottles are [1] collected, [2-3] shredded, [4] added 50-50 to new polyethylene terephthalate “wool” and woven into a 3mm thick felt sheet, which is [5] supplied in rolls and [6] moulded into [7] the new package for aibo.

Designing iconic packaging for an iconic product

A challenge requiring both design and technology

Designers and engineers worked together to realise both the environmental goals and the concept of aibo’s awakening from a protective package, considering design, cost and scratch-resistance. The high proportion of recycled material also presented its own challenges.

Pushing recycling further through innovation

Increasing the proportion of recycled material in a textile can reduce its 'binding tightness,' leading to problems with strength and shape retention, so typically recycled material needs to be mixed with a majority of new material. For the aibo package, felt was used, along with an exclusive process to allow the proportion of plastic bottle material to be successfully increased to an impressive 50%.

Integrated single structure

aibo’s package is created from moulded PET felt for both cushioning and impact resistance. The package is unique in its use of 50% recycled material and innovative three-layer structure with a hollow interior, providing both a shock-absorbing storage cushion and strong outer cover.

Conserving resources, and a better first impression

Products shipped in cardboard boxes usually need to be protected internally from water and dust with extra bags and cover sheets. The dense fibres in aibo's felt package are far more resistant to dirt from outside so no additional protection is required, meaning better conservation of resources and a great first impression when you first meet aibo.

No ink required

Since aibo’s name is embossed rather than printed on the package, the various chemicals and oil products associated with ink are not required, helping to reduce the environmental impact.

Motohiro Sato

Packaging Design and Engineering Department

Production Design Division
Sony Global Manufacturing & Operations Corporation

Image of Motohiro Sato

We started designing the aibo package with the target of using "50% recycled PET bottle material," and the challenge this time was to get this up from the 30% achieved in the previous year.
Our continued pursuit of a "good material feel" and the wish to convey the "sense of aibo sleeping" made the shape of the felt complex, and more difficult to design and manufacture, but we were able to definitively overcome these issues and achieve the target.
We will keep working on the environmental impact of packaging materials, and aim to increase even further the proportion of recycled plastic bottle material that we use.

Image of Kenichi Hirose
Kenichi Hirose

Graphic Designer

Creative Center
Sony Corporation

In 2014, aiming to create a new style of packaging, we began the development of a felt package. First, we had to get to know the fibre constituent of our felt, so we made a series of prototypes with various ingredient mixture proportions, material production methods and so on. Then we tried producing the felt package using PET material recycled from familiar plastic bottles.
With this package, from which the customer first meets aibo, we wrapped the whole body of aibo in the material's characteristic combination of strength and softness. The package snugly wraps and protects aibo. 
Going forward, we will produce even more advanced packaging, aiming to approach 100% recycled material. Hopefully this style of packaging will influence many people's environmental consciousness.


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