The world is already full.
The world is already full: things are now made faster, sold sooner, used, and then discarded more frequently, and in larger quantities, than ever before. This requires more resources, and results in more waste and pollution. In many settings ‘making waste’ now seems necessary, since it makes room for the new in people’s lives. We are taught to value the new over what is ‘old’ or even over what is already possessed, which is made to seem of less value by comparison. This leads to many products being replaced prematurely, either because they have been designed to fail, or to become more costly to maintain. Given the environmental crisis that is now upon us, what might designers do now to ‘unmake waste’? Here are a few simple suggestions:
- Consider Saying No. Avoid making things out of new resources, especially those that are environmentally damaging, or are used only once before discard.
- Consider Longevity. Ensure products can be repaired for continued use, which can also conserve resources, energy and materials.
- Consider Recycling. Make it recyclable. Reuse materials in new forms, from glass and textiles to plastics and concrete.
- Consider Value. Waste can be remade into new things of greater value. Mining copper from computers or cables may be much less damaging than mining it from the earth.
- Consider Time. Too many products now are ‘landfill ready’ – temporary, single-use, novel, but useless after use. This adds considerably to our environmental crisis.
- Consider Relations. Too many products ignore their own settings and environments. Ignoring place, and relations to other things and people, can generate more waste.
- Consider Scale. Many products and materials have tiny, sometimes toxic or dangerous particles, such as micro-plastics. Consider all scales.
- Consider Transparency. False claims are useless, obscuring rather than illuminating, disguising harm, enabling greenwashing, misleading users.
The Unmaking Waste Exhibition – Call for Work
You are invited to design out waste. This can take almost any form, so long as it addresses the central problem of waste, consumption and the circular economy (including end-of-product life decisions post exhibition). Using any medium, demonstrate what responsible, environmental design is by challenging the concept of ‘resources’, and help re-design our future consumer society.
Please submit your ‘Expression of Interest’. Deadline has been extended until Friday May 18, 2018. Response given by the Conference Organising Committee by Friday June 1, 2018.
The exhibition launch will mark the start of the conference (September 20th 2018) and run from September 20th 2018 until October 19th 2018.
The exhibition will be held at the:
Office for Design and Architecture South Australia (ODASA)
28 Leigh St, Adelaide SA 5000