Sustainable design: inspiring big conversations with everyday objects

in Sustainable Design

Sustainable designs are often examples of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. In particular, material choices are frequently directed towards what would otherwise go to waste.

An example is the reuse of common everyday stuff. And I’m calling it stuff for a reason, as these are usually things we don’t attach a big value to in their first life. But – in the right hands – even they can become mind-blowing design objects!

Tea bags

Drinking tea is a common everyday activity for many people. What’s less common is knowing that tea waste can have a second, more long-lasting life, which notches the very concept of kitchen waste.
For example, what if used tea bits became decorative speckles?

Discover on SforSustainable:

Sustainable planter made with tea bags on a black background.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Dust London (opened in a new window/tab)
Vases made with tea bags styled on a console table.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Dust London (opened in a new window/tab)

Wine bottles

Just like tea, wine is more than a beverage. It means socialization, celebration and is often associated with life milestones and accomplishments.
From this perspective, reusing wine bottles is not just a recycling act, but also a way to make a moment eternal.

Discover on SforSustainable:

View of a glass on a sunny background.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Q de Bouteilles (opened in a new window/tab)
Close-up of the glass styled with mandarins on a white table.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Q de Bouteilles (opened in a new window/tab)

Popsicle sticks

Popsicles are a common ingredient of summer, which results in plenty of wooden sticks being trashed.
But let’s think creatively; the shape of a popsicle stick recalls...a clock’s hand! A simple idea, that marked the beginning of a sustainable design journey...

Discover on SforSustainable:

Wall clock styled next to its components: popsicle sticks, wood and cork.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Kibelis (opened in a new window/tab)
Close-up of the clock showing black stained popsicle sticks used as clock's hands.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Kibelis (opened in a new window/tab)

Tights

Tights are probably the least durable garment. It takes very little to damage them and there’s no way to mend them neatly.
The urgent need for sustainable development shortens the distance between industries, encouraging waste generated in fashion (such as tights) to be reused in other fields, like design.

Discover on SforSustainable:

Coffee tables made with old tights.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Swedish Stockings (opened in a new window/tab)
Woman's leg wearing tights next to a coffee tables made reusing tights.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Swedish Stockings (opened in a new window/tab)

Bringing sustainable design closer to people

Giving new life to everyday stuff brings sustainable design practices closer to people’s life.
Seeing teabags or tights turned into furniture and décor shows that really everything can be a resource, it questions the very meaning of the word trash, it highlights the practical power of a circular design mindset while giving a tangible proof of the design out waste principle (which could otherwise sound a bit dry to non-professionals).

And this can cause a precious ripple effect too.
When brought into everyday spaces, these pieces become eye-opening conversation starters, tools to raise awareness about sustainable design practices among people that wouldn’t necessarily be aware of them.
In so doing, these pieces democratize the discussion around a circular economic model, spreading it way beyond the niche of design professionals.

 
 
In short, sustainable design pieces can become a powerful manifesto of the change we need in the world right now. And thanks to their immediate engaging potential, they move our society one step closer to this essential change!

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