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Action is already happening across the world!

Here are some great ideas that are already working, let's get everyone on board.

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There are so many great ideas and things happening already, let's learn from them! I am living a reduced waste lifestyle, aiming towards zero waste. The zerowaste lifestyle seeks to Refuse what you do not need, Reduce what you do need, Reuse where possible, Recycle as a last resort, and finally Rot the rest. In this way, individuals can drastically reduce the amount of waste that comes from our homes, and eventually only have  recycling and compost bins. This means a rejection of small and single use plastics. This is possible for all the cases and personas in the brief, but they need to be given access to options and made aware of their impact. Companies need to understand they must change, and that there is a market for change, and a financial incentive, because packaging costs consumers, producers, and the public services a lot of money and time.

  1. It doesn't need to be a liquid: Ethique a is New Zealand company working to 'give up the bottle' by making cosmetics and detergents in bars, so that plastic packaging isn't necessary. They sell the bars in compostable/ recyclable packaging, but they could sell them naked if they had a physical outlet. Mark and Rajata could be supplied with bars (or take reusable containers).
  2. It's already mainstream and better for you: is showcasing how people can live with less waste day to day in easy and affordable ways. Bea travels around the world and takes photos of people buying in bulk in Japan, Turkey, Canada – everywhere! We need to support and promote unpackaged foods and other items. She has guest bloggers from China and people across the world are embracing zerowaste as a lifestyle to cut unhealthy food, reduce packaging, save time (shopping for endless packaged food takes so much more time than going once a week to the market to get fresh food – no more wandering aimlessly down the aisles and returning often to the store, also buying durable items like a steel razor or menstrual cup instead of going again and again for disposable items!).  Michaela could get her hummus from a deli counter in her own glass or metal container and not worry about what plastic is recyclable. Trevor and Benjamin could also buy items unwrapped and take them  in cotton bags, glass and metal containers, or beeswax food wrap – all of these containers are durable, washable, reusable, and at end of life valuable to recycle or possible to compost into nutrients. That's circular!!!
  3. Seriously, everyone around the world loves it: Zero Waste Bloggers Network is proof of how many people around the world are interested in the zerowaste lifestyle. They should be supported, cheered on and be visible to manufactures and distributors. Link:
  4. It's already being designed and sold:  showcases great products for zerowaste lifestyle, these should be promoted and celebrated. Metal food containers, cotton produce and grain bags, wooden toothbrushes, beeswax food wrap and so much more! and and are just some of the amazing shops that are growing as part of a global trend towards less packaging and better living.
  5. And it's beautiful and innovative: are making a really good version of beeswax wrap.
  6. It's not just for homes, restaurants and shops can get on board: is a zerowaste restaurant. I am sure they would have tips for Carmen. In Tanzania we have small balls of butter served on individual little ceramic bowls which can be washed and reused.
  7. There are so many amazing ideas around coffee cups: Freiburg city is using a deposit system for coffee cups. Some small restaurants do the same for take away meals, especially for regular customers. Anne and Lucas could easily do this. Straws should be stainless steel, bamboo, or banned – they are ridiculous. Ecooffee cups are made of bamboo that is dishwasher safe. You can crush and compost them at the end of life. Keepcup is also trying to do something cool – they have barrister standardized reusable cups, which makes the reusable easier for barristers to handle and fill. Like with plastic bags, we should fine people who do not bring their own cup – why should everyone else pay taxes and subsidise your coffee cup production and waste because you are lazy?


In the end, trying to just make a different linear plastic economy won't work, and recycling is not circular. A true circular economy looks like the solutions above. How can we scale them? incentise behviour change? penalise packaging companies? ask for better policy? 

How does this research relate to our Use Cases?

Zerowaste is a win-win for everyone except plastic packaging companies. Rajata could refill a small container from bulk shampoo at her local shop everyday, or the shop could stock solid shampoo and soap, which she can buy in small amounts in her own container or wrapped in paper. We have this in Tanzania. Mark could buy sugary sweets from the bulk store and take them on his ride in a pocket or a reusable bag instead - he needs and education. Carmen can server her butter in small balls on a plate

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

There are so many people doing great things already, look for the pioneers doing great stuff. We don't need bioplastics or different plastic, we need NO plastic and less recycling and more reusing. It is so easy to change, we did it when plastics came out, let's switch back by lobbing for better legislation, talking about zerowaste, and supporting bulk stores and rejecting plastic packaging.


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Hi Alexa!
There are 3 days left in the ideas phase of the circular design challenge! It would be great to see your ideas there, submit your idea via -

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