Zero Waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. No trash is sent to landfills or incinerators. The process recommended is one similar to the way that resources are reused in nature. (Zwia.org, 2017)
Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.
Having found what I believe to be a sustainable methodology to produce products through the philosophies surrounding the theory of Cradle to Cradle and my interpretation of functional biomimicry, I believe true zero waste must come from nature. Man made substances are harder, if not impossible to break down and seen as foreign objects to the natural world. Designers are beginning to see the benefits of using natural, zero waste material and manufacturing methods in their concepts. Not only do they support sustainability including economic well-being, environmental protection and social well-being (Zero Waste Alliance, n.d.) they save money, have faster progress and improved material flows owing to lack of waste and improved efficiency. Double winner of Dutch Design Week, Christien Meindertsma 'scooped the Product Design prize and was also honoured with the Future award' (Bertoli, 2016) for ultizing the material flax, a widespread crop that needs little water. In addition to being fully biodegradable, the chair is cut into three from one singular square piece, meaning no access and subsequently: no waste. As more innovators are praised for their forward-thinking approach to sustainability, we will see a rise in more conscious and responsible design.
In my search for 'zero waste' materials and manufacture, it became apparent to me this was a buzz word that big companies like Coca-Cola, P&G and General Motors wanted to be associated with. When business trumps morality you can almost guarantee this company change is unsustainable or cutting corners to achieve this green stamp of approval. I, by no means, want to diminish a companies for their effort but instead be transparent about what I believe their true intentions are and ask you to consider whether you are better off investing in a company with more honest ecological, environmental and ethical values. Ultimately, this is the goal for my design, which some may view as unachievable but I consider a work-in-progress and a transition much like my veganism (see this blog post to know more).
Right now, I must work with what we have available and find the most feasible material and manufacturing methods and aim to inspire the desire for more conscious choices and spark debate with the current ones. If I cannot establish feasibility and flexibility, individuals will not even consider change, and to be honest, I would do the same. I am critical at times of product morality, but I am accepting of effort. I'm hoping the more demand in 'waste-less' design will inspire for more zero waste-approved material and manufacturing methods to be invented.
Zwia.org. (2017). Zero Waste International Alliance. [online] Available at: http://zwia.org/ [Accessed 14 Feb. 2017].
Zero Waste Alliance. (n.d.). Case for Zero Waste. [online] Available at: http://www.zerowaste.org/case.htm#benefits [Accessed 14 Feb. 2017].
Bertoli, A. (2016). Shining examples: the winners of the 2016 Dutch Design Awards announced | Design | Wallpaper* Magazine. [online] Wallpaper*. Available at: http://www.wallpaper.com/design/the-winners-of-the-2016-dutch-design-awards-revealed#178493 [Accessed 14 Feb. 2017].
En.wikipedia.org. (n.d.). Zero waste. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_waste [Accessed 14 Feb. 2017].
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