IDEO Internal Project
Team: Industrial designer, Interaction designer, Business designer, Visual communication designer
We worked speculative design for a vision for a circular 2030 and the transition along the way
What might everyday life look like if the products we use, clothes we wear, and industry standards and systems are waste-less, adaptable and regenerative?
Circular is critical to climate.
Circularity has been working for years to reduce waste, replace plastics, and fundamentally upset traditional (linear) consumption. As the climate crisis deepens, well proven sustainability strategies like a Circular Economy finds new battles. A Circular Economy isn’t perfect. In fact it can be in tension with emissions at times when considering how to transport a used garment or reusable container back for cleaning and redistribution. But with 6% of overall global emissions coming from plastics, 20% of fashion industry's emissions coming from waste, and the tremendous potential of active greenhouse gas sequestration possible in the very growing of the alternatives to fossil fuel-based materials—circularity has a new and critical role to play for climate change.
Design Can help.
Waste and emissions decisions happen upstream at the original design of a product or service. Design can make odd but regenerative materials like algae more palpable to a consumer. Industrial design can reduce material inputs and waste and reduce weight and save transport emissions. Design can create a heavy and durable container for reuse thus reducing emissions through longevity. Circular’s future is boldly hand in hand with climate mitigation and adaptation. It is shifting from designing the object for the (status quo) system to designing the object AND the (climate era) system.
And, increasingly, the edge into the years to come for Circular Design goes beyond the product to whole systems around it. Too many wonderful circular prototypes die on the hill of scale: How as a global company can you shift from plastic to chitin-based plastics if the shrimp shell processing plants don’t yet exist at the billion unit level you need? How can a reusable service be cost-competitive buoyed by one brand or store? Wider scale adoption bring the relieving breeze of economies of scale.
To help each other to change the future, we first need to believe in it. And to believe in that future, we first need to imagine it. That’s where design sits. It helps us to imagine, create belief and call to action for a better world, together.
Imagine a kitchen in London where Reusable is the norm.
What if a brand was de-coupled from packaging in the face of standardisation, embracing the opportunities of digital-first branding?
In a world marked by scarcity and environmental upheaval, our society has embraced a transformative approach to tracking and participation in supply chains.
In the future, we may pick up takeout at the Tokyo airport in a reusable container that can be returned at a cosmetics store in London. This global adoption of standardised reusable packaging unlocked ways to interact with everyday items, with kitchen items stocked with universally reusable containers, eliminating waste and fostering sustainability.
Companies broke free from the limitations of traditional packaging, replacing it with dynamic, real time and personalised expressions that come alive through digital.
One of the concepts we developed is a resuable container.
A globally universal reusable container system for food and CPG products worldwide.
Imagine picking up takeout in a reusable at the Tokyo airport and return it in a London cosmetics store, because the whole world has adopted a standardized reusable system.
Imagine a home kitchen full of products and food goods in universally reusable containers. Imagine companies decoupling their branding from current packaging infrastructure to richer, more engaging digital expressions.
Scanning the packaging labels unlock a world of digital content. Supermarket shelves or kitchens could be redesigned to embed smarter and more relevant offerings More engaging, real-time and personalised content saving the bottle from the need for a unique shape or intensively visual label wrap.
Exhibition at EMF in London