When will you believe me? A comprehensive investigation in to plastics
This book has been Coauthored by Meaghan C.L. Sharp & Lindsay G. Sharp. Referencing heavily from; Cradle to Cradle Five steps toward reinventing the world: William McDonough & Michael Braungart , futerra sustainability communications; Selling the Sizzle and The Green Imperative: Victor Papanek
From the designers of yesteryear to tomorrow.
We work intellectually and from deep
With so much education and Information
levels of intuition and feeling, that’s why as
floating about, like the 50,000 pieces
designers I ask you to consider one thing:
[number much too small] of plastic in the North Pacific Gyre (see section four),
If plastics aren’t for throwing away, then
why are we not talking about the ‘plastic
what are they for?
problem’ that threatens the earth?
Shoppers worldwide are using between
I am not talking about a frivolous Nanny-State
500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags per
goal to force every one to think the same.
year. This translates to about a million
Instead, this is a call to the untapped potential
bags every minute across the globe, or
of the designers of tomorrow, like you, to
150 bags a year for every person on earth.
transform this problem of perception and turn
And the number is rising. Most of them are
it in to a solution. We must use all our skills to
thrown away and become landfill taking
develop appropriate answers and to create the
hundreds ofyears to degrade.
controlled, empirical environments in which to test such solutions.
This book is going to look at where we have come from and where we have to
For us to survive there must be agreement
go in order to reclaim plastics as the
about these critical ideas amongst our
beautiful materials they are. Is it the
species. Perhaps this re-affirmation could
product that’s the problem? No, its how
be along the lines of the ‘First Things
we think of it that needs changing.
First’ manifesto which was written on 29
So, why do we treat plastics as we do: is it
re-radicalise design, that by then had
because we have never known better?
become lazy and uncritical. Drawing
November 1963 and which tried to
on ideas shared by ‘Critical Theory’, I think not. If any one believes that the
the Frankfurt School and the counter-
current surge of interest in sustainable,
cultural values of the time, it explicitly
ecological and economical products is
re-affirmed the belief that Design is not a
the first time this awareness has come to
neutral, value-free process; that design is
our collective conscience then, they are
responsible for much of what happens in
mistaken. People have been campaigning
for us to really think about these key issues since the 1970s yet we just haven’t heard them clearly enough. This has led to some awesome ecological hazards developing, all caused by humankind.
I IMPLORE YOU TO START A NEW AGREEMENT AMONGST YOUR FRIENDS. TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE.
History of plastics: how the problem started. Extracted from The age of plastics & The Authoritative guide to Plastic.
Parkesine was the worldâ€™s first plastic material. A form of nitrated cellulose, which was to become better known under the name Celluloid. When the British inventor Alexander Parkes decided to show the general public for the first time a range of products he chose as the venue the International Exhibition held in London in 1862. Neither Parkes nor any of the six million people who visited that exhibition could have realized that here was the beginning of a great industry supplying the world with an essential raw material. Plastics have become crucial to modern living, not least because of their immense versatility. Plastic can be produced in almost any shape or colour and they can be formulated to give specific technical properties such as toughness, corrosion resistance, electrical and thermal insulation, flexibility, rigidity, and so on. We have a raw material upon which the world depends but which is also often used to produce hideous, outrageous trivia regarded by most people as a waste of the earthâ€™s limited resources. The cultural meanings that plastics have acquired over the course of this century are varied and complex. Created in the first place as substitutes for luxury materials that were in increasing demand and diminishing supply in the second half of the 19th nineteenth century, first celluloid and later the synthetic plastics were developed as more available alternatives.
Simultaneously however, they also served as essential adjunct to a number of the new technological innovations of the era of photography, the early film industry and the electrical industry in particular. Thus plastics’ reputation was formed, in the early days, within the twin realms of the expansion or the middle-class market and the technological advances of the ‘modern world’: As such they earned respect and admiration. Only gradually, with the sociocultural changes of the first half of this century and the emergence of so-called ‘mass culture’ at the end of this era, did plastics fall from grace and become transformed in the eyes of society at large, into ‘cheap and nasty’ substitutes. The demise in their reputation was influenced by a number of factors, among them the large-scale manufacture of plastics and plastic products dominated by American oil companies such as DuPont, which rid them of any lingering associations with luxury and quality that they might have retained from an earlier period, and the growing availability of such products to a mass market. After the Second World War plastic products became associated with the concepts of’ ‘inauthenticity ‘, cheapness’, ‘low quality’ and ‘bad taste’. In contrast to the traditional ‘craft’ materials : clay, stone etc. They were downgraded and seen as essentially ‘inferior’. A reputation that they have been trying, with the help of designers, to throw off ever since.
What plastic is made from; Why we must recycle.
Where does plastic come from and why it is imperative we recycle it as a resource?
Plastic as we know it today does not exist in
Petroleum is drilled and
a natural state. It is produced by synthesis.
transported to a refinery.
Currently, 99% of plastics used throughout the world are manufactured from oil. Around seven per cent of worldwide oil and gas resources are consumed in plastics manufacture, with worldwide production exceeding 150 million tons per year. Almost 99% of plastics are formed from fossil fuels a finite and rapidly reducing resource. Fossil fuels would take millions of years to be replenished. The journey from oil field to finished plastic product has numerous fascinating side trips. Here is an example of the route taken in the petroleum-to-plastics process:
8Customers manufacture plastic products & sell it on to us.
7 Pellets are shipped to customers.
2Crude oil and natural gas
C C H
are refined into ethane, propane, and hundreds
Ethane and propane
of other petrochemical
products and, of course,
into ethylene and
fuel for your car.
propylene, using high temperature furnaces.
4 Catalyst is combined with ethylene or propylene in a reactor, resulting in “fluff,” a powdered material (polymer) resembling laundry detergent.
6Melted plastic is cooled
Fluff is combined
then fed to a pelletizer
with additives in a
that cuts the product
into small pellets.
THE PROBLEM WITH PLASTIC By Victor Papanek
Although many plastics can be recycled
pacemakers and artificial joints, filtration
in one form or another, there must be an
and liquid storage devices. But as vast
upper limit to the number of dark grey, rough
quantities of indestructible plastic waste
textured counter-tops that can be usefully
are washed up on the shoreline and lie
employed. Plastics that contain similar
unmouldering in our rubbish dumps, we
molecular structures can be co-recycled,
must analyse the whole question of how we
but it is better procedure to keep plastic
use it and how we throw it away.
materials separate. The â€˜environmentally friendlyâ€™ recycling There is a continuing need for plastics
initiative started by the plastics industry
in medicine, optics, animal husbandry,
should be welcomed with great caution.
research into and storage of food and
American householders are encouraged
chemicals, where nothing else will do
to separate plastics from the rest of
the task as effectively. Plastic is, at the
their household trash, but it seems that
moment, the best material we have
thousands of tons of both household and
for replacement heart-valves, heart
industrial plastic waste, instead of being
BANNING PLASTICS, & SWITCHING TO PAPER FOR PACKAGINGâ€Ś WOULD REQUIRE 170,000,000 ACRES OF EXTRA FOREST, AN AREA THE SIZE OF THE UNITED KINGDOM. recycled in the United States, are being
By far the largest importer of US plastic
shipped to less industrialized countries,
waste is Hong Kong, from where much of
particularly in Asia, where the waste is
it goes to China.â€™
reprocessed under much less stringent
California, Minnesota, Wisconsin
rules for health and environmental safety,
and scores of cities and towns are
or is merely dumped in landfills there.
considering banning nondegradable
Although law in the Philippines bans
plastics, and are advocating paper
waste imports, over 7500 tons of plastic
for packaging. This approach sounds
waste was shipped there from the USA in
reasonable at first, until it is realized
1991. Indonesia was receiving thousands
that this would require a hundred and
of tons until November 1992, when the
seventy million acres of extra forest
Indonesian government banned imports of
land for paper production, an area the
plastic waste; since then, however, illegal
size of the United Kingdom. This alone
container shipments of plastics from the
would add fifty-five thousand million
Netherlands, Japan, Korea and the USA
pounds (twenty-five thousand million
have been accumulating Indonesian Ports.
kg) of trash a year world wide, and would
also raise annual energy consumption by
Thermoplastics melt at a specific high
more than 225 % each year.
temperature and therefore can be compared to glass. Thermosetting polymers - a loaf
Researchers are therefore currently
of bread could serve as a metaphor - do
attempting to develop plastic materials
not liquefy and are consequently extremely
that can be biologically degraded, either into
difficult to recycle. Thermosetting materials
many inert, minute fragments, or, ideally
can be ground up and used as a ‘filler’ in newer
into carbon dioxide and water.
thermosetting materials, but less than a third of the newly constituted material can be
Not only designers but also recyclers and
recycled filler. Thermosetting plastics, such as
users of products need to know what kind of
melamine, phenolic, epoxies, urea, unsaturated
plastic or elastomer (an elastic, rubber-like
polyester (UPE), or thermosetting polyester (PE)
material) they are dealing with. Thermoplastics
are extremely difficult to re-use.
and elastomers are easy to recycle. The use of such terms as ‘biodegradable’ and ‘biodegradation’ lacks precision and
â€˜GREENWASHING IS AN OLD CONCEPT, WRAPPED IN A VERY MODERN INCARNATION.â€™ futerra sustainability communications
is too simplistic. Even within the plastics
designer should bring about innovative new
industry and scientific circles, these
ways of utilizing what we already have.
terms need clarification. The necessity for choosing materials with Portfolio of plastics on pages 44-45 gives a
extreme care is emphasized by the problem
short explanation of the meaning of various
of landfills - dumping sites where unsorted
terms in relation to the different categories
rubbish is buried in the ground. Frequently
of plastics and the alternatives presented to
such landfills are then used as building
the product designer.
sites. Recent research excavations of older landfills have shown that, if closely packed,
At present the designer has a choice of at
even organic waste and waste considered
least seven strategies that employ plastic
biodegradable can last from twenty to forty
materials in an ecologically benign way.
years without significant changes.
A repertoire that is sure to expand greatly over the next few years. Yet there are many
Recycling is great, and the people who make
other possible materials available, and the
it happen, from recycling companies to
PLASTICS MADE FROM SUGAR, WHICH COULD BE ON THE SHELVES WITHIN FIVE YEARS.
the end users of recycled materials, should
less ‘sustainable’ and yet they are often
get points for being green. But a brand that
marketed and promoted as a smokescreen,
claims it is helping the environment by
or deflection from the poor environmental
manufacturing recyclable products is not
behaviour of the corporation.
doing much more than greenwashing. Plastic is mostly recyclable but that doesn’t Green washing is the practice of promoting
make it an eco-friendly material, or mean
apparently environmentally friendly
we should be consuming more of it. The
programs or products to deflect attention
resources that go into transporting it, and
from an organisation’s environmentally
then for soda or water bottles, refrigeration
unfriendly or less than savoury
at the store often consumes more energy
activities. The intent is to cash in on
than the transportation and bottling
the ‘Green pound’ taking advantage of
processes together. None of this energy
environmentally conscious buyers. Often
is replenished by recycling the bottle, a
this permits a substantial mark up in profit
process that itself consumes energy.
margin. Such products may be more or
a Pl ic st ga Su r Now where plastics may come from will be
The process is much less energy intensive
different because of people like Charlotte
than current methods of producing plastic.
Williams, of the Engineering and Physical
The new material is also better for the
Sciences Research Council who is helping
environment because it degrades quickly. A
to develop the new material, plastics
complete Cradle-to-Cradle approach.
made from sugar, which could be on the shelves within five years.
At the moment the research is concentrating on how to make plastics from
Dr Williams said the British research had
sugar for the mass market but results are
worked out how to extract a polymer from
â€œvery promisingâ€?. It will then be necessary
glucose found in trees and grasses. Since these
to develop the product commercially and go
plants are not needed for food and require
through all the necessary regulations.
much less land to make the amount of plastic needed, it would be much less controversial than growing crops for fuel in cars.
Out of sight out of mind.
Prime contributors to the growing tide of plastic pollution are the world’s merchant ships, which, according to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, dump at least 6.6 million tons of trash overboard every year. With 200 billion tons of plastic used by people at least 30% of those containers and bags are tossed into the oceans. 70% eventually sinks and the other 30% floats to the surface. Commercial fishermen are major offenders. Estimates of the plastic fishing gear lost or discarded at sea every year range as high as 150,000 tons. Boaters and beach goers add to the marine litter with six-pack yokes, picnic utensils, sandwich bags and Styrofoam cups. Cities and industries discharging waste directly into the water or dumping it at sea are also to blame. On some East Coast beaches
Al Pruter, a fishery biologist and partner
near sewage outlets, so many plastic tampon
in a Seattle-based natural- resources
inserters have washed ashore that residents
consulting firm has said that “almost
refer to them as “beach whistles.”
without exception, surveys show plastic to account for over one-half the man-made
Estimates of plastics in the world’s oceans
products on the ocean surface.”
exceed 100 million tons. 20% comes from ocean sources like derelict fishing gear, 80%
Oceanic gyres are circular ocean currents
comes from land, from our watersheds.
created by rotating high-pressure systems.
A large segment of that comes from single
Nine major oceanic gyres around the world
use consumer items like the ever-popular
have become accumulation zones for plastic
plastic bottle or carrier bag.
debris, drawing thousands of tons of plastic into their centres. Garbage from the East
Perhaps the most ubiquitous form of plastic
Coast of Asia takes about a year to reach the
trash is the tiny polyethylene pellets used
North Pacific Gyre, and about five years for it
in the manufacture of plastic items. In one
to come from North America.
survey, researchers calculated that, on average, a square mile of the Sargasso Sea,
In the central north pacific gyre, pieces of
southeast of Florida, contained between
plastic outweigh surface zooplankton by a
8,000 and 10,000 bobbing pellets.
factor of six to one. In the Pacific Gyre , most of
WE WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO GET ALL OF THIS PLASTIC OUT OF OUR WATERS.
the plastic comes from low-density Polyethene, Polypropalene, Polyethelene and expanded styrene (which to you and me is plastic bags, bottle caps, water bottles and Styrofoam cups.) The boarders of the floating ‘plastic island’ are hard to calculate as much of the debris is too small to be seen by the satellites or planes. Estimates of its size range from about 250,00 square miles which is roughly the size of Texas to 6 million square miles. If this is correct then that would mean that this ‘plastic island’ covers at least 10% of the entire Pacific Ocean. Ninety percent of The Laysan Albatross from the Hawaiian Islands have their chicks die from starvation. The carcasses and regurgitated stomach contents often contain large amounts of plastics from lighters too toy solders. These sea birds and many fish mistake plastic for food, the small colourful items look like vegetation or other fish.
Plastic debris release and absorb floating chemical additives and plasticizers into the ocean. The chemicals are attracted to the
plastics oil base. Many of the chemicals
*The Chemical pollutants include:
are known pollutants which never leave
Aldrin (insecticide), Chlordane .H. (pesticide), Dieldrin (insecticide), DDT (pesticide),
the environment *. These pollutants
Dioxins (toxic chemicals that are an Industrial waste product metal smelling & paper
bioaccumulate in the tissues of marine
bleaching). Endrin (insecticide), Furans (toxic chemicals used as Solvents), Heptachlor
organisms, biomagnify up the food chain,
(insecticide), Hexachlo-robenzene (fungicide), Mirex (insecticide), Polychlorinated
and find their way in to the foods we eat.
Biphenyls ( coolant & lubricant), Toxaphene (insecticide)
Two paths into the future.
There are two ways of looking at this
new technological fixes usually come
problem: there is the Cradle-to-Cradle
accompanied by dozens of unforeseen side
approach and there is the approach that is
effects.’ (Papanek, 1995, )
currently happening. It is said that Capitalists are only out to Cradle to Cradle is a book that maps the
make a profit, and as a large cog in this
lineaments of McDonough and Braungart’s
industrial machine our sense of right and
new design paradigm, offering practical
wrong has been twisted and confused.
steps on how to innovate within today’s
Indeed Victor Papanek agrees that ‘the post
economic environment. This book deals
modern age could be characterised as a
with social history, and strives to be a green
vacuum of conscience’ (1995).
business primer, as well as a conceptual design manual. They make it plain to see
We as a collective profession are partly
that the re-invention of human industry is
to blame. Thackara, (2006) highlights that
not only within our grasp; it is our best hope
‘80% of the environmental impact of today’s
for a future of sustaining prosperity.
products, services and infrastructures are determined at the design stage.’
The design of products and manufacturing systems have grown out of the Industrial
If we change our ways then we will not create
Revolution, they reflected the ideas of
trash gyres or landfill sites in the future, all
their time and created many unintended
our products will work either to replenish our
consequences. When designers employ
lands or be able to be upcycled or recycled
the intelligence of natural systems; like the
and if we don’t we will just add to the waste
effectiveness of nutrient cycling, like making
and one day be ‘buried’ by all the rubbish.
new plastics out of sugar, they can create products, industrial systems that allow nature and commerce to fruitfully coexist. We are stuck with an industrialised way of thinking at the moment. We make recycled paper, which is positive in its concept but in reality it may use twice as much energy to transport, bleach, reshape and sell back into the market than just using virgin paper. Papanek points out that in most ‘industrialized countries many people have come to expect a technological fix for every ecological dysfunction ... experience tells us that in design, architecture or planning, Five
80% OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF TODAY’S PRODUCTS, SERVICES & INFRASTRUCTURES ARE DETERMINED AT THE DESIGN STAGE
Setting it straight.
In the 1940s a salesman named Elmer
That is the picture we need to create.
Wheeler made what TIME magazine
That is the dream that will become our reality.
called ‘a handsome living’ advising U.S.
At almost every turning point in human
businesses. He knew that you “don’t sell
history, when things have looked the bleakest,
the sausage – sell the sizzle!”
extraordinary people have seen a different way forward. Compelling visions of ‘better’
Elmer highlighted that the big secret
have inspired us to overcome massive odds
to successful selling is that you don’t
before. Mandela, Martin Luther King and
advertise the sausage itself; because it’s
may more have sold the ideal of ‘heaven’ when
the sounds and smells which entice people.
they were faced with ‘hell’
For years we’ve tried to ‘sell’ climate change and intern sustainable design, but a lot of
We need also to understand that creating
people aren’t buying.
a ghetto called ‘sustainable design’ is a mistake: as Papanek states (1995) ‘There
The resolution for global warming is still a
should be no special category called
scientist and Politician’s problem, but that
‘sustainable design’ it might be simpler
doesn’t have to stop us from using our skills
to assume that all designers will try to
to help them change people’s minds. All we
reshape their values and work so that all
need to do is present a solid argument as
design is based on humility, combines
well as learning about selling from Elmer.
objective aspects of climate change and the ecological use of materials with subjective
Although these Armageddon climate
intuitive processes and relies on cultural,
scenarios might be accurate and eye-
bioregional factors for its forms’
catching, they haven’t changed attitudes or behaviours. Threats of climate change haven’t seemed to hold us back from running recklessly towards it.
We must embed the principles of sustainable/‘green’ design in all design work and education. These are:
An approach needed now more than ever before is one that will change hearts
•Reduce waste in production and
and minds. We must build a visual and
consumption, i.e. using low impact
compelling vision of low carbon heaven.
materials that will not affect the
A low carbon future that creates plastics
environment or the end users.
from plants in an effective cradle to cradle way, or at least massively minimises the carbon load and mainly unrecyclable waste
•Energy efficiency: use manufacturing
cycle of the present day.
process and products that need to consume LESS energy
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•Quality and durability: longer-lasting and
As part of a practical vision we need,
better-functioning products will have to
therefore, to legislate appropriate rules for
be replaced less frequently, reducing the
the design profession and the business
impacts of producing replacements
communities they service. We need to and sell ecologically damaging products
•Designing impact measures for total
or services and to encourage, also,
carbon foot print
through incentivisation and taxation, more responsible design and a manufacturing/
processing behaviours. Creativity and
•Biomimicry designing and re-designing
steady purpose are needed just as much
industrial systems on biological cycles
in the design of appropriate legislation and
enabling constant reuse of materials in
educational programmes as in the actual
process of design development or sound business practices. We need to build a
For these to succeed commercially it is
positive framework for the delivery of that
crucial that the design achieves agreed
practical vision. And we need to do it now.
profit margins and can have production scaled up to appropriate volumes. It is
Public engagement through interactive
also crucial that any green claims are
media and broad based, well-designed
demonstrated and verifiable.
programmes will support the other two legs:
Cite zen Cite zen
Cha nge Peo ple + Pla ne t Crad le to Crad le
make it more expensive to manufacture
M as sive
legislation and commercial incentivisation.
All this means that we have a large challenge
When it is more expensive to manufacture
ahead of us, dealing with the social,
abysmal ‘life cycle’ products and provide
economic and commercial fixes of climate
equally damaging services manufacturers
change and environmental degradation,
and service industries will rapidly adopt
working towards sustainable design as
new practices. This will slowly take us
well as combating the effects of devious
closer to the total ‘Cradle-to-Cradle’ society,
manipulation of words, ideas and imagery.
in turn profoundly impinging on product/
We must take these challenges and make
service design, development, packaging and
creative work out of it. It is essential that
marketing and the educational industries
our educational systems and organisations
that produce the business managers,
begin to address issues relating to green
designers and marketers that drive
design and creative sustainability; and
commercial life today.
public engagement and understanding of these issues. Designers must become
There needs to be a ‘science for design’
change agents and effective professionals
which must now focus powerfully on the
delivering a step change in how we do things
world of plastics and plastics’ development
and develop products; and inform and
which, as a leading hazard and sustainability
engage the public helping legislators and
challenge, has to be solved as soon as
consumers with the skill sets required to
possible. This would be an outstanding
demand more responsible and sustainable
example of a ‘practical vision’- we could
products and services.
produce more, not less, yet in so doing we could assist the environment, lower carbon
In all this tackling issues presented by the
load and enhance natural fecundity.
plastics’ debate there could be a beacon of hope as opposed to a rubbish tip. A trash
This is backed up by Krippendorff, K.
heap that poisons the land and sea and kills
(2006) who states that a ‘science for
both animals and humans in their turn.
design’ must ‘provide the intellectual tools needed to realize what did not exist before, to introduce desirable changes in the world, to project the technological, social, and cultural consequences of a design into the future, and, above all, to provide compelling justifications of designs to those affected by and needed to bring about these futures, their stakeholders.’
You can do it.
I don’t want to sell nightmares anymore.
themselves overnight. Instead, they take up
Its pointless to use the threat , ‘be good
the strategy step-by-step, employing an ever-
or you’re going to hell’. these berating
broadening ability to refine and ultimately
statments and demands ‘be energy efficient
transform materials, products, manufacturing
or you’re going to climate change hell’ have
systems and even the relationship between
never really made an impact because it’s
producers and customers.
hell that we need to be selling. The first three steps of the eco-effective Being positive can be hard. We sometimes
strategy, which I have described in a
have the urge to grab people by the
previous essay, are essentially a process
shoulders, give them a good shake and cry,
of editing and refinement: Aiming to
“pull your finger out or we’re all going to
make safe, healthful products within the
fry!” The problem is that climate change is
framework of current manufacturing and
too important. You’ve got to do what works,
marketing systems, designers progressively
and their research suggests this positive
weed out and replace an existing product’s
and creative engagement works. Try it.
ecologically harmful ingredients. From
Step One to Three, designers move from
From the work of Nelson, H. and Stolterman,
redefining products as “free of” one
particularly dangerous substance to selecting all product ingredients from a
‘Design is the ability to imagine that-which-
well-defined menu of safe materials.
does-not-yet-exist and to make it appear in concrete form as a new, purposeful addition
At Step Four they enter the realm of true
to the real world.’
eco-effectiveness, where designers aim to create products and systems that are not
I agree with the statements made by
simply “less bad” but which actually generate
William MaDonna from his co-authored
a broad spectrum of positive effects. At this
book Cradle to Cradle; ‘Imagine what a world
point on the five-step path, the idea is not to
of prosperity and health looks like and begin
limit the impact of a product but to conceive
designing for it now’.
goods and services that create ecological, social and economic value.
Plastics can be socially responsible and beautiful. It is our job to inform and
For economic reasons, too, I think it’s
influence the client and in turn the end user.
extremely important to begin reinventing
Designers have always been teachers, and
existing products today, within the context
we must continue to play this role.
of the current system. Reaching for Step Four now not only gives companies a
When forward-thinking companies adopt
jump on the long process of innovation, it
eco-effective design, most don’t re-invent
allows a product to stay in production and
IMAGINE WHAT A WORLD OF PROSPERITY AND HEALTH LOOKS LIKE AND BEGIN DESIGNING FOR IT NOW
in the marketplace, maintaining demand, recognition and value. Albert Einstein said “the world will not evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the situation.” I would hasten to add that, ultimately, new ways of thinking reveal their true value in new ways of doing things. This is especially true in the world of design. The proof of intelligent design theory is intelligent design practice, the hands-on, practical application of emerging ideas. Over the past decade, design for sustainability has made great leaps from theory to practice. Across a broad range of human industry, designers have begun to transform the making of things into a force for positive change. Indeed, I’m convinced that thoughtful design mirroring the safe, regenerative productivity of nature-what is called Cradle to Cradle Design™-can create materials, products, and manufacturing systems that are not simply sustainable, but yield sustaining growth in economic prosperity, ecological intelligence, and social value. And in this design process enhancement the world of plastics is the perfect domain in which to demonstrate how a beautiful vision can, through practical and creative design, be turned into a successful reality.
Who to contact +Where to sign:
This is not the first time or place that we have approached you. So we have compiled a list of places that you can visit and things you can read about if you want to put your weight behind this cause. Legislations:
Websites: ww2.defra.gov.uk/ www.mcdonough.com/cradle_to_cradle.htm greenmuseum.org/
Events and Conferences Aspen Design Summit; The 2009 Aspen Design Summit, a partnership of AIGA and
Hannover Principles/Bill of Rights for the
Winterhouse Institute, was held at Aspen
Meadows in November 2009.
Bruce Mau Design and the Institute without Boundaries; explores
Climate: Design: Design and Planning for
paradigm-shifting events, ideas, and people,
the Age of Climate Change
investigating the capacities and ethical
From ORO editions
dilemmas of design in manufacturing, transportation, urbanism, warfare, health,
Change by design by Tim brown
living, energy, markets, materials, the image and information. We need to evolve a global
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way
society that has the capacity to direct and
We Make Things by William McDonough;
control the emerging forces in order to
achieve the most positive outcome.
Design is the Problem:
Sustainability in Design: NOW - LeNS
The future of design must be
2010 International Conference in Bangalore
sustainable by Nathan Shedroff
SEGD Annual Conference + Expo : The green imperative: ecology and ethics
is unique among design education events,
in design and architecture by Papanek, V.
combining inspirational presentations from design leaders and clients with
Sustainable Graphic Design: Tools,
panel discussions, technical sessions,
Systems and Strategies for Innovative Print
networking and social events, and SEGDâ€™s
Designby Wendy Jedlicka
signature Workshops on Wheels, which invite attendees to get out in the world and experience projects first-hand.
Organizations People & Planet is the largest,
EC3 Global ; is an international
student network in Britain campaigning to
environmental management and certification
end world poverty, defend human rights and
company, with more than 1000 clients in
protect the environment.
over 60 countries. Among them are National Park agencies, community organizations,
Society for Environmental Graphic Design is a global community of people
Government regulators and some of the worldâ€™s leading hotel and travel groups.
working at the intersection of communication design and the built environment.
The European Sociological Association (ESA) aims to facilitate
Worldchanging is a nonprofit media
sociological research, teaching and
organization headquartered in Seattle,
communication on European issues, and to
WA, that comprises a global network
give sociology a voice in European affairs.
of independent journalists, designers and thinkers. We cover the worldâ€™s most innovative solutions to the planetâ€™s problems, and inspire readers around the world with stories of new tools, models and ideas for building a bright green future. We have brought awareness to issues like refugee aid, renewable energy and innovative solutions for improving building, transportation, communication and quality of life.
Green Map System promotes inclusive participation in sustainable community development worldwide, using mapmaking as our medium.
PORTFOLIO OF PLASTIC AVAILABLE. Permanent For products for which there will be no secondary use. Applications in medicine and related fields for products in direct contact with organic parts, e.g. parts of an implanted hip joint, shell of heart pacemaker, artificial veins, and blood-storage bags. Material characteristics and lasting quality performance of primary importance, e.g. Nylon 66. Quantity used negligible.
Recyclable Thermoplastics and elastomers melt at a specific high temperature like glass and are easy to recycle. Thermosetting polymers do not liquefy and are very difficult to recycle; research is continuing into better methods.
Re-usable Product can be used over and over again unchanged, e.g. Plastic bucket. Complex tools or appliances can be repaired, upgraded in whole or in part, for resale. Enormous numbers of items involved. Wood, tin, enamel, glass, ceramics ecologically and aesthetically preferable
Co-recyclable Compatible materials can be recycled together to form a useful new material.
Bioenhancing Carry additives to stimulate plant growth, or, as with the artificial burrs designed in the 1975 to prevent erosion in arid climates, carry plant seeds and seedlings embedded in growth stimulants.
Biodisintegratable Attempts have been made to embed a biodegradable trait into synthetic polymers so that they turn into mulch. These compounds perform badly in landfills through lack of moisture, slightly better when composted. Radical improvements have produced plastics, now commercially available, that degrade 100% less than 2 months after being discarded. Research continues into further control of the start of degradation.
Biodegradable 100% biodegradable rather than biodisintegratable. PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate), a member of the polyester family discovered in 1925, is â€˜manufacturedâ€™ directly by micro-organisms. Since then scores of bacteria that produce this organic polymer have been found, including PHBs (polyhydroxybutyrates), one of the first to be commercially available. PHA plastics can be moulded, melted and shaped like petroleum-based plastics, and have the same flexibility and strength. The same production methods can be used, e.g. melt-casting, injection moulding, blow moulding, spinning and extrusion. Manufactured under the name Biopol in Europe by ICI and PHBV in the United States. Too expensive for routine use for soft-drink bottles or grocery bags, but the cost should drop with full-scale production.
Bioregenerative Union Carbide researchers have produced a type of polycaprolactone film that completely biodegrades within 3 monthsâ€? leaving no residues. Research into paper products laminated with layers of corn-based cellulose materials prove they can resist water for 6 to 8 hours and could serve as containers for drinks and fast-food items.
Bibliography Cernansky R. (15 Oct, 2009) Recyclable Is Not Recycled: Why Recyclable is the Greenwashingest Word Around Because it doesnâ€™t mean anything. Planet Green http://planetgreen.discovery.com/work-connect/recyclable-recycling-greenwashing-word. htm Giunti, G. & Zaytseva, K. (2009) Transition to a sustainable future. A study about studentsâ€™ attitudes and views toward corporate sustainability. A comparison between Sweden, Italy and Russia. http://umu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:236420 Gray L. (18 Feb 2010) Scientists develop new plastic made from sugar that can be composted; Food packaging made from sugar has been developed by British scientists. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/7258503/Scientists-develop-new-plasticmade-from-sugar-that-can-be-composted.html Spark P.(1990) The Plastics Age; from modernity to post modernity. Victoria & Albert Museum McDonough, W. & Braungart M (2002) Cradle to cradle: remaking the way we make things http://www.mcdonough.com/cradle_to_cradle.htm Murphy J., Dorfman A. & Hull J. (2 Jun, 1986) Environment: The Perils of Plastic Pollution http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,961534,00.html Papanek, V. (1995) The green imperative: ecology and ethics in design and architecture: Thames and Hudson Ward, P. (2001)The authoritative guide to plastic collectibles : wacky, fun and kitsch. Silverdale Woody T (9 March, 2010) Scientists Develop Highly Recyclable Plastic. The New York Times http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/09/scientists-develop-highly-recyclableplastic/?pagemod http://www.reachoutmichigan.org/funexperiments/quick/plastic. http://www.planete-energies.com/content/features/plastics/origine. http://www.good.is/post/transparency-the-great-pacific-garbage-patch/
Published on Jun 14, 2010