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Posts tagged Circular economy
The solution of packaging
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What can design do to solve the problem we presented in our previous post? A lot. Like we always say, design alone can just take small steps, we need companies (our clients) scientists and engineers (our colleagues) and specially consumers to make a real impactful change. Nevertheless, design has a strategic role which can show the way to the other actors in the scene.

Despite some theorists say that the three traditional eco-design strategies are an obsolete idea, the fact is that they are still a good starting point.

The first one is to reduce, with good design we can create packaging with the same functionality but using less material, while being equally or more attractive. Overpackaging is something that should make everyone angry and can even be considered unethical. To present something better in store is never a good enough reason to spend more material and resources than the strictly necessary. Companies should be creative, offering more and using less, and designers should tell them how to do it. Their economic results will appreciate it, and so will the environment and the client’s perception.

The second one is to reuse. With design, some single-use packaging can be substituted by a reusable one, reducing a lot the environmental impact that packaging provokes. A typical example are plastic bags at the grocery store. Do we really need to produce tonnes of virgin plastic bags that are only going to be used for 5 minutes, from the store to home? Of course not. Sadly, this can be applied to many other products and packagings, that can be replaced by reusable options in a very easy way.  Why is it that the evolution of this industry has resulted in the substitution of things that were already working - like refillable glass bottles - by others that are objectively worse?

The third one is to recycle, which involves the consumer, who has the responsibility to separate waste at home and dispose of each item according to the information provided by their waste management organization. Nevertheless, it also involves companies and designers, because they must create packs that are easily recycled, with a minimal number of different materials and choosing those that allow a complete re-introduction in the chain.

These are the three main strategies that have always been at the center of sustainable design, and in some ways, these are overpowered by others that have a more systemic approach. A step forward is to design packaging with a circular design approach where it can be re-introduced in the chain again without losing any value.

There are dozens more ideas that can improve the environmental impact of packaging and have an influence at different stages of the life cycle. It’s the job of the sustainability expert to find the one that best fits the product, the brand and its target. In order to choose wisely, designer and client need to perfectly understand the life cycle and the characteristics of the product they are offering.

Sadly, no strategy is ever going to work if consumers do not change some of the factors that are nowadays key decision-making aspects when purchasing a product. Consumers tend to be lazy and want easy and cheap things, but we need to understand that to buy something is as act of responsibility, and that to choose well benefits us all. Let’s then be smart and make the right choice.

Circular Design Europe

As you probably know Nutcreatives is much more than just a product design studio. We are really interested in the future of our profession, and to set the bases of it nothing better than to do research. 
We are one of the partners of the Circular Design Europe project, that has been presented to the media just now. Our role in this network of universities, companies and design associations from four different european countries is to develop a case study publication in Circular Design, looking for some of the best examples in the EU, interviewing them and trying to explain their methodology to help the design community into the acquisition of this set of tools that is going to be every day more important. 
Here you have the press note that has been sent to media of the whole Europe, together with the first case of study, Sea2see, a Barcelona company that is producing a range of glasses produced with recycled plastic obtained from old fishing nets.

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The Circular Design project releases the first case study of its Best Practice publication

Sea2See, a company within the eyewear industry, is one of the case studies showcased within the Circular Design project that demonstrates that every sector can be an agent of change for circular economy.

One of the main goals of the European project Circular Design - Learning for Innovative Design for Sustainability is to inspire designers, businesses and design students in the process of developing more sustainable products and services. 

In order to reach this objective, one of the key outcomes of the project is the Best Practice Publication in Circular Design, a fine selection of case studies, best practices and products that will help us to understand the critical role of design to minimise the environmental impact of consumption, reduce the use of resources and rethink the way our societies work.

The first case study of this publication, led by the design studio Nutcreatives in collaboration with the other partners that integrate the Circular Design project, is Sea2See, a change agent in the eyewear industry that is determined to face a very serious threat for our environment: the islands of waste created by the fishing nets thrown away in the ocean that trap hundreds of thousands of sea mammals and fish. Plastic is also ingested by aquatic animals, such as sea turtles, who mistake it for viable food. They have become a huge environmental problem in our oceans.

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Sea2see is a company based in Barcelona that produces sustainable eyewear made 100% with recycled fishing nets collected in collaboration with fishermen. One of their main goals is to create awareness about ocean contamination and prove that circular economy in the fashion industry is possible. 

Their biggest innovation is the creation of a complex network of very different actors and organizations that allows to recycle something that was not being recycled before and has a high environmental impact like fishing nets, getting as a result a product with a big added value as are the glasses. With no doubt, Sea2see is an example that demonstrates that every sector can be an agent of change for circular economy. Further information about the case study: Sea2See

Sea2See is the first of twelve best practices to be released over the next months. The Best Practice Publication in Circular Design will be completed with case studies within sectors like technology, furniture, clothing, lighting or packaging, to demonstrate that circular design strategies can be applied to improve the efficiency of almost every system.