By Adrian Newell, Design Director

Following our recent environmental collaboration with Chester Zoo on their Love it for Longer sustainability festival, and with the COP26 summit still fresh in our minds, we have been taking a look at a few of our favourite designs and campaigns with sustainability at their heart – highlighting the vital role that design industry has in addressing the urgent challenge of waste culture and using our skills in problem solving to help us all think more about what we produce and what we throw away.

MTZ Blok 70
Created by Accept & Proceed as part of Nike’s ‘Move to Zero’’, MTZ Blok 70  is the creation of a basketball court, children’s playground and outdoor space created from old sneakers donated by the local community. Based on the principles of reduction, function and responsibility, almost 20,00 shoes that were otherwise heading for landfills found a renewed purpose and helped to breathe new life into an otherwise redundant space.

Waste Age
The Design Museum is running a thought-provoking new exhibition, exploring our ‘age of waste’ and asking ‘Is design the answer to leaving our throwaway culture behind?’  The exhibition features contributions from Formafantasma, Stella McCartney, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Bethany Williams, Snøhetta, the Sony Design Centre Europe and others.

The focus behind the exhibition is to tackle ways to fix our throw away culture. Exploring a new generation of designers that are rethinking our relationship to everyday things – from fashion to food and electronics to construction – helping us all to find the lost value in our trash. 

Plastic Whale
Highlighting the impact of waste on the planet’s wildlife and environments, this stand-out project by StudioKCA (an award winning architect firm from Brooklyn) saw a 12 metre tall whale made from 5 tons of plastic ‘launching’ out of a canal in Bruges. The structure was created to interpret the idea of ‘the liquid city’. With scientists estimating that there are over a 150 million tons of plastic trash in the world’s oceans with millions of tonnes added every year, their solution involved the collection of four months worth of plastic from the sea and and turning it into an impossible to ignore sculpture, highlighting our waste culture and encouraging people to face up to where much of our plastic waste actually goes.

Image credits
Accept & Proceed
Design Museum