The devastating rate at which we dispose of plastics is of growing concern and it’s the products we use on a daily basis that have a significant impact on the volume of waste; in the U.S. alone, consumers dispose of 900 million detergent bottle every year! Grove has been designed to encourage us to take a step in the direction of what may feel like the daunting and seemingly unachievable, plastic-free life.
This rather beautiful vessel replaces the disposable container that we are used to, whilst simultaneously introducing an element of considered design into our homes. Its designer recognized that if a more expensive, reusable container was to be successful, then it would require a connection with the user on a more emotional level. This led to Grove carrying a sustainable narrative which is wonderfully told through a product that offers an elevated user experience; a unique dosing mechanism and simple lid closure can be found towards the top of the bottle, which installs a sense of confidence in the user, whilst the glass body that’s been paired with the silicone base creates a product that we certainly wouldn’t want to hide in a cupboard!
Toothbrushes are infamously difficult to recycle; their plastic bodies paired with the silicone over molds make the materials a challenge to separate, resulting in them spending the remainder of their lives on landfill sights… not great for a device that we only use for 4 minutes a day! Whilst regularly replacing our toothbrush is necessary, the handle can withstand a much longer lifespan than the heads.
This beautiful design is 2°C, a toothbrush that reduces the overall plastic waste by a staggering 87%! This has been achieved through the implementation of a high-quality reusable body that accommodates the disposable brush heads. Requiring just the heads to be replaced every six months. Its intriguing design doesn’t end at sustainability, packed into the magnetic base is a technology that quietly tracks your brushing stats, whilst simultaneously keeping track of the age of the brush head! This information is communicated to the user through the mobile app, allowing for unobtrusive tracking of the device!
Designer: Andrea Mangone
“When not in use the toothbrush snaps magnetically to a smart base for a minimum footprint on the bathroom counter. The smart base is able to track brushing time and frequency, as well as estimating when the brush heads should be replaced for an optimal brushing effectiveness. Moreover the system is able to provide an additional estimate of how much plastic is being saved from trash,” Mangone explains to YD.
We’ve all seen those memes about how our CO2 levels are at the highest they’ve been in 3 million years, and that we’re going to face major environmental consequences in the next few decades. It’s scary, but those statistics and numbers don’t help us come up with a solution to this massive problem. Guidelines do.
Years of Nike’s efforts to develop consciously designed products, practices, and behaviors has culminated in Nike’s “Circularity: Guiding the Future of Design”, a free-for-all design guide that lets students, designers, studios, and industry members embrace sustainability and ‘circular thinking’. Designed in collaboration with the students and staff of Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, while taking inspiration from Global Fashion Agenda and insights from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Design Guide (accessible by clicking here, or right at the bottom of the article) aims at empowering designers with the right tools to design for longevity as well as considering a product’s entire journey in mind.
The guide looks at all aspects of the design process, and adds key insights to it, from making conscious material choices like Nike’s Flyknit technology that eliminates the need to punch out shapes from fabric (causing waste), or especially their Flyleather, an innovative “engineered leather material that looks, feels and smells like natural leather, made by binding at least 50% reclaimed leather fibers together in an innovative, environmentally sustainable water-powered process.”
Other chapters in the guide also talk about disassembly, or how your product would be taken apart to re-purpose or recycle different components, and even considering circularity in packaging, perhaps one of industrial design’s biggest afterthoughts.
“We have an obligation to consider the complete design solution, inclusive of how we source it, make it, use it, return it, and, ultimately, how we reimagine it.” says John Hoke, Chief Design Officer Nike. The Circular Design Guide in its entirety, accessible below, breaks down Nike’s efforts and processes in a way that helps others take key insights on how they can make their design approach more future-focused and sustainable.
Nominated as a finalist for the prestigious James Dyson Award, the Montados are a set of lid/coaster hybrids made from recycled cork. Its unusual grooved design (with differently spaced grooves on the front as well as back) serves a pretty neat purpose. Not only do the grooves act as a collecting rim for any liquid that spills on it, making the Montados a great set of coasters, but when placed on the top of any cylindrical container, the Montados can securely fasten around the rim with a nice, air-tight seal.
The key to this unique, useful interaction is the spacing of the ridges on the cork surface. The ridges on either side of the lids are contrary to each other, so if the lid doesn’t fit on side A, just flip the lid over, and the ridge on side B should fit just fine.
The cleverness of the Montados is also in its choice of material. These lids could easily be made out of a thermoplastic polymer or silicone, but Marlene Bruch’s choice of cork is ideal, given its flexibility, eco-friendly nature, has the ability to withstand moisture, and most importantly, is an insulator, making it perfect for hot vessels. The Montados also offers an alternative to single use plastic foil and aluminum wraps, giving it the advantage of being reusable, recyclable, and green. And oh, the lids can nest within each other too, making them lock together for convenient storage and easy shipping!
Designer: Marlene Bruch