The Research and Ideation phases of the Circular Design Challenge have opened our eyes to some key insights in the use of small-format plastics, and have inspired us with some incredible ideas that are looking to reimagine the future of small format plastics.
Our idea hopes to build on some of these ideas by providing a model that could help combine some of these initiatives into a transition kit for local businesses to adopt. We propose a three tier transition system that enables businesses to tap into the circular economy based on their level of comfort.
A Tier 1 transition would include a one to one replacement of products and services that offer a low investment opportunity for businesses to tap into the circular economy. For example, this would include the replacement of plastic straws with compostable ones, and a training script for employees that would instruct them to ask questions such as "How many sauce packets would you like?" and "Would you like a straw with that?" to make customers stop and assess their true needs in order to reduce waste.
A Tier 2 transition would comprise of elements that require a deeper level of investment and commitment from the business owner. For example, this could include redesigning their brand and marketing content so as to promote circular economy initiatives and to educate their customers on the benefits of a circular economy.
The final tier would consist of elements that require a significant level of investment for the business owner. Replacing all of their coffee cups with a new design that keeps the lid, cup and straw together, drawing inspiration from other cultures about zero waste habits and implementing them, and using organic materials such as coconut shells and banana leaves as vessels to deliver their food, would all be examples of new initiatives that the business owner would have the option to implement as part of the Tier 3 transition.
By allowing us to meet the business owners where they are, we hope to offer a smooth transition for stakeholders to slowly but surely migrate towards a circular economy.