|Creator||Ivy Hill Packaging|
|Primary Users||Warner Bros. labels|
|"Eco-Pak" Trademark (US)|
|Filed||22 Apr 1991|
|Abandoned||23 Nov 1992|
Eco-Pak was the brand name for a CD packaging format created in 1990 by Ivy Hill Packaging, at the time a subsidiary of Time Warner. As sold, the cardboard-and-plastic Eco-Pak was roughly the size of a conventional CD longbox, retaining the advantages that form factor had for retailers (such as compatibility with existing store fixtures). After purchase, the packaging could be folded down to approximately the size of a standard CD jewel case for long-term use. It distinguished itself from the conceptually-similar Digitrak by eliminating the disposable portions of the packaging: all that the purchaser had to throw away was the shrinkwrap.
Initially announced at the 1991 meeting of National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), Time Warner's launch of the Eco-Pak was unusually public for a packaging initiative. The company claimed that consumers surveyed preferred the design to existing alternatives, and stated its intent to use the format across its entire portfolio of CD releases. And of course the idea that the "Eco"-Pak was "ecologically" preferable to the disposable longbox was implicit in its name.
CD buyers were unconvinced. Time Warner's consumer surveys had only compared the Eco-Pak to the longbox and other similar designs, not to jewel-case-only packaging. It also became clear that the Eco-Pak used almost as much cardboard and plastic as a jewel case and longbox combined, and was likely more difficult to recycle than either one.
In the end, few releases were ever issued in the Eco-Pak. The design's failures were best summed up by the sticker that eventually appeared on some releases:
Apparently the world wasn't ready for CD packaging that needed an instruction sheet.
Known Eco-Pak Releases
- Dee-Lite: Infinity Within (Elektra Records 9 61313-2; June 23, 1992 - first known Eco-Pak release)
- INXS: Welcome To Wherever You Are (Atlantic Records; August 3, 1992)
- Pearl Jam: Vs. (Epic ZK 53136; October 19, 1993 - packaging used at the band's request)
- Ivy Hill originally planned to use name the ECO PAK FLP for their FLP snap cases, which were launched in 1993. At least one release featured this branding, which was subsequently abandoned in favor of just FLP.
- US packaging company NAPCO uses the name ECOpak for a form of paper-based CD/DVD packaging. They abandoned an attempt to trademark the name in 2008.