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Winners of the Student Design Challenge Highlight Sustainability and Innovative Paperboard Packaging Solutions

Teams from University of Wisconsin-Stout and California Polytech State University Take Top Prizes

SAN DIEGO - The Paperboard Packaging Alliance (PPA) announced the winners of the 2023 Student Design Challenge. Teams were asked to design new paperboard packaging and packaging components for an existing or original personal care product typically packaged in plastic.

Student teams from the following schools were named as the top-3 winners:

  • 1st Place: University of Wisconsin-Stout: Triangular Paperboard Lip Balm
  • 2nd Place: California Polytech State University – SunEase
  • 3rd Place: University of Wisconsin-Stout: Luxora Solid Shampoo Bar Display

"Students who compete in the Student Design Challenge exhibit impressive creativity in packaging design,” said AF&PA President and CEO Heidi Brock. "This challenge underscores the significance of prioritizing sustainability and highlighting our ongoing efforts to foster the development of circular packaging solutions.”

"Our industry is poised for a promising future. Congratulations to our winners and their remarkable designs. This challenge serves as a platform to explore groundbreaking concepts and forge significant connections with key figures in the paperboard packaging sector,” said Ben Markens, President of the Paperboard Packaging Council.

Additional acknowledgments were announced for the following PPA Student Design Challenge entries:

People’s Choice Award:

  • California Polytech State University – SunEase (Award determined by popular vote at the Paperboard Packaging Council’s 2023 Fall Meeting & Leadership Conference)

Honorable Mention:

  • Toronto Metropolitan University/Ryerson – Perf Deodorant
  • Fashion Institute of Technology – C-Swabs
  • Fashion Institute of Technology – Shine Toothpaste


  • Indiana State University – Velvet Touch Toilet Roll Dispenser
  • Rochester Institute of Technology – MOW Shave Kit
  • Rochester Institute of Technology – Roll With It

The Student Design Challenge inspires students enrolled in packaging and graphic design programs to showcase their imaginative abilities, design expertise, and inventive strategies in addressing real world customer requirements and marketing scenarios. Winners were honored October 24th, at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego, CA during the Paperboard Packaging Council’s 2023 Fall Meeting & Leadership Conference. For more information and a look at the Student Design Challenge prototypes visit:

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance U.S. paper and wood products manufacturers through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. The forest products industry is circular by nature. AF&PA member companies make essential products from renewable and recyclable resources, generate renewable bioenergy and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative —Better Practices, Better Planet 2030: Sustainable Products for a Sustainable Future. The forest products industry accounts for approximately 5% of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures about $350 billion in products annually and employs about 925,000 people. The industry meets a payroll of about $65 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 43 states. Visit AF&PA online at or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper