How I designed a reusable cardboard container

Freshly graduated from UTC, Romane Jager successfully implemented an ambitious project during her final internship: designing a reusable cardboard container. This is how she did it.

How I designed a reusable cardboard container

Her journey through Latin America was already perfectly planned. It must be said that at 24 year old Romane Jager is an organization wizard. On a six-month break to discover the salt desert of Bolivia, explore the great beaches of Brazil and then travel the plains of Argentina. All the logistical details were taken care of. Accommodation with friends for some destinations, work in ‘wwoofing’ or in ecovillages for other cities. All that was left to do was to book the plane tickets.

But at the last minute, on the very day she was surfing between the different booking sites, the young woman came across an internship advertisement. The title? ‘Design of a new line of bulk containers at Vrac'n Roll’. “The subject of the internship immediately appealed to me," the young woman explains. “I had planned to take a six-month break in South America before my final internship, but I was still looking at the job offers so as not to miss something really good." And this ad has everything to please the young student. First of all for the content of the internship itself. Product design is Romane's preferred specialty: "I fell in love with this discipline during my third year at UTC," she explains. “Originally I wanted to specialize in biology, then in biomechanics, and finally a design course made me want to get into this area”.

But beyond the missions, it is the framework of the internship itself that she liked. Vrac'n Roll is a small start-up specialising in delivering organic products all over France. Founded in 2016 by Sarah Benosman (a former UTC graduate), the company employs four people. “The current immediately passed with Sarah and the teams," continues Romane. “So in February 2019 I started my internship at the end of my studies”. And her missions are evolving rapidly. “When I arrived, I was immediately told that my subject had changed. They had told me that I was to work on the manufacture of containers for bulk foodstuffs, but in the end they had already found what they needed. So I was assigned to a project to create an innovative package.”

The problem before Romane was very complex: how to send products all over France without generating thousands of tons of cardboard waste every year? So, for several weeks, she tried to solve this difficult equation. With her tutor Sarah, she carries out a thorough investigation, going the rounds to meet the teams in order to create a product suitable for the order operative who fill the container, the logisticians who will move it and the final customers who receive it.

After several months of work, she developed and patented the Vrac 'n parcel: a returnable cardboard box that can be reused at least fifty times. “We did a lot of prototyping with our suppliers to find the perfect package. The most difficult part was to find materials strong enough to make the package," says Romane.

Today, the parcel designed partly by Romane circulates everywhere in France to transport bulk products. A source of pride for the young woman, but a project that has above all led to a permanent contract within the same company. “Since September, I have been appointed project manager for innovation and logistics," she confides with a smile. “I'm responsible for developing new products as well as improving the various production processes." A golden job for the now UTC graduate who wanted to lend meaning to her daily professional life. "I needed a company that shared the same values as me: sustainable development and ecology. Before joining Vrac'n Roll, I was already a fan of bulk and organic products. Today there is a coherence between my personal and professional lives and I am so proud of this”.