World Environment Day
For many years, we have been hearing about the damage man-made products are having on the environment. And yet, whether it was a confused monkey losing its home to deforestation or an emaciated polar bear clinging to melting ice, it seemed the usual environmental damage rhetoric had begun to lose its effect. That’s why when we tuned into the final episode of Blue Planet II in 2017, we expected little more than some close up shots of our favourite marine animals frolicking in the sea. What we got instead was a wake up call.
It can be all too easy to convince ourselves that the effect we’re having on the environment is insignificant. And yet as the presenter showed us the devastating impact a toothpick had had on a young albatross, we thought about the coffee cups, plastic bags and straws we’d used throughout the week. We were presented with the direct impact our plastic consumption was having on the environment. We were made to take responsibility for what we had done.
Since the series aired, consumers and producers alike have declared the war on waste. Sustainability has gone from being a bonus feature in a product to a trend in its own right. That’s why when a company founded on providing purely eco-friendly products approached us earlier this year, we couldn’t wait to start finding ways to achieve function in products with sustainable and reusable materials. And with the majority of plastic waste coming from the kitchen, what better area to begin looking at than cookware and catering?
Perhaps the sneakiest culprit in plastic waste pollution comes in the form of a coffee cup. Whilst you would be forgiven for thinking something so flimsy would eventually disintegrate in the ocean, the reality is a material that can hold liquids over 70 degrees is going to be pretty durable. Instead, the focus turns to making a multiuse product that performs just as well or better. Reusable cups and flasks don’t just do their bit for the environment – they’re also becoming increasingly easy on your wallet. With most coffee shops now rewarding their customers for bringing their own drinks vessels and even making them in different designs, single use cups will hopefully be the first things to exit our oceans.
Earlier this year, “Trash Isles” was awarded its own passport and currency. Whilst an ingenious way to highlight the magnitude of the problem in its own right, it also calls on other nations to do something. As part of the United Nations Act, states are required to cooperate in the maintenance of conservation. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now one such state. In the same way this island did not emerge overnight, the war on waste will not be resolved anytime soon. However, after David Attenborough’s hard-hitting documentary, we all realise our role in this war. As designers, our role is to utilise the most sustainable materials and to keep our products as eco-friendly as possible. We are excited to have this role, and will continue to bring it to our studio, clients and audiences.