The recession doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Not to say it’s a good thing, but forced cut-backs can teach businesses some very valuable lessons.For a start, all companies worth their salt are now looking for ways to reduce overheads and production costs. Scrutinising the necessity of even a micro millimetre’s worth of material can lead to big savings when the difference is spread over a large quantity of product. Coca Cola, for example, has saved on 15,000 tons of aluminium in the past year across Europe by making its cans ever-so-slightly thinner. (Who would’ve known?) Drinks giant Britvic has managed to cut back on 1,670 tons of plastic per year simply by redesigning its Robinsons squash bottles.And all of Cadbury, Mars and Nestle have announced that they’ve stealthily cut back on Easter egg packaging by a quarter. These changes were all led by consumer pressure to reduce packaging for environmental purposes, but the lesson is clear – a bit of time spent reassessing design and packaging can lead to massive reductions in materials.Reductions mean savings. And savings, right now, mean survival.