Zenlock, Zenpack’s child-resistant packaging system, continues to make history in the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Just last year, Zenlock was released to the public, making it the first sustainable rigid box solution in child-resistant packaging. Then the Dieline Awards 2021 announced the winners of their Plastic Free Packaging category. Zenlock took Third Place, a major honor in a crowded field that included top tier brands like Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness and SodaStream.

For the past 12 years, the Dieline packaging awards, presented by Adobe, recognizes the best in consumer product packaging design across the globe. In their mission to promote “sustainable solutions through creativity and innovation,” they focus on agencies, designers, and manufacturers creating eco-friendly packaging.

Looking back on the circumstances that inspired him to create Zenlock, Zenpack Creative Director Leo Chao noticed that in the rush to meet demand after recreational legalization in 2016, manufacturers were relying on old habits.

“When many of our cannabis clients started asking us for a more premium CR packaging solution, we began looking for something with a clean canvas that can afford a wide range of styles,” explains Chao. “The result was disappointing.”

Rather than settling for the market standard, Leo and his team got to work creating their own sustainable child-resistant packaging.

“The market lacks a good solution for extensive print treatment, and all of them have some sort of plastic part that’s hard to be separated for recycling. As usual, we hate to settle for what’s available and we said to ourselves, what would be a perfect CR solution for us?”

Zenlcok open boxes with Dieline Award
Zenlock, the all-paper child-resistant packaging system wins their first Dieline Award.

They knew the child-resistant landscape well, having spent almost two years immersed in California CR regulations and competitor designs to create something the cannabis industry was seriously lacking: a truly plastic-free child-resistant mechanism.

“During the development phase, the nature of paper material gave us so much trouble that we almost gave up,” says Chao. “There wasn’t an ah-ha moment or any glamorous story behind the solution we finally arrived after the 14-month development period. Instead it was small and incremental progress constructed by many trials and errors.”

Leo entered Zenlock in the Plastic Free Packaging category, confident that their all-paper child-resistant boxes would stand out in an industry that’s exploding with new packaging designs.

Dieline announced the winners on May 25 after two rounds of judging. They received the most entries in the competition’s history, tallying over 1,600 which resulted in winners from 28 countries. In the Plastic Free Packaging category, another child-resistant design took home the Plastic Free Innovation of the Year. Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness created the Prescription Paper Pill Bottle as an open-source alternative to the now ubiquitous orange plastic pill bottle.

Zenlock’s versatile design encourages cannabis brands to utilize the entire printing surface without compromising the discreet child-resistant mechanism. With their first Dieline packaging design award locked in, the cannabis packaging company has some exciting new projects in the works. Subscribe to the Zenpack newsletter for a first look at these upcoming Zenlock designs.

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