Oh, how I wish that there had been a more sustainable nappy when I had babies. I tried hard with re-usable nappies, but just couldn’t get on with them. We tend to invest a lot of time and energy in less bad ways of doing things without questioning their existence. Last year one of my students did a project in which he questioned the length of time that babies spend in nappies. It has more than doubled over the past 50 years due to the convenience and comfort of disposable nappies. A better brief might be: design a nappy that potty-trains babies at 12 months.
Clare Brass, Director, Seed Foundation
I think light and light switches are something we keep ignoring, and could be made massively more sustainable. At Vitamins we’re taking part in a two-year research project working with factories and engineering companies throughout the UK to find ways of motivating people to actually take control of their power usage. You see all these fancy gadgets on the market, but at the end of the day if you can get off your chair and turn the light off you will save masses of energy.
Adrian Westaway, Director, Vitamins
So many things need to be made more sustainable. I would start with food, which is overly packaged with materials and processes that are wasteful. This is a humble area, certainly compared to a project like designing an electric car, but someone has to do it. The resulting savings in cost and environmental impact will be huge. The food industry is slow to change, but just like innovation brought them success in previous generations, new technologies will transform the field again.
Yves Behar, Founder, Fuse Project
In 2006 I travelled to Beijing, working on the Ford Motorshow for Imagination. Afterwards I was sad to see the stand’s parts being piled high on the back of some bloke’s bicycle. ’Well at least he’s recycling it,’ I thought. The waste from exhibition design is rarely considered. This year, our stand design for the University of the Arts UCAS Fair uses found wood materials to create totems for prospectuses.
Kevin Palmer, Director, Kin
Pump dispensers. You know the ones – toothpaste, handwash and hair gel. I’m always amazed how quickly they empty and how much plastic I throw away. I get a pang of guilt similar to the one that Range Rover drivers must feel. Why are they so over-engineered, and why can’t I get a refill?
Mat Hunter, Chief design officer, Design Council