Product designers ‘must reduce Pringles factor’ to boost recycling

Product designers need to retreat from “the Pringles factor” in order to make their packaging more recyclable, an environmental expert has said.

Simon Ellin, the chief executive of the Recycling Association, which represents recyclers, pointed to the snack tube as a prime example of the failure to consider recycling in design – and listed a range of other offenders from Lucozade Sport drinks to whisky packaging.

He spoke as round-the-world sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur launched a $2m (£1.5m) competition to reduce plastic waste and target the 30% of plastic packaging that cannot be recycled because of the way it is constructed.

Straws, shampoo sachets, crisp packets, coffee cup lids and food wrappers were all picked out by MacArthur as products that either could not be recycled because of the multiple layers of materials used, or were not traditionally recycled.

Ellin said the biggest problems came when multiple materials were used in the same packaging. In the case of Pringles, Ellin said: “What idiot designed this in terms of recyclability? We’ve got a cardboard tube, a metal bottom, a plastic lid.

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‘Turn it off’: how technology is killing the joy of national parks

 

Andrew Studer was admiring a massive lava fire hose at Hawaii Volcanoes national park when he spotted something unusual: a small quadcopter drone flying very close to the natural wonder pouring hot molten rock. “There were other visitors sitting out relaxing in somewhat of a meditative state, just trying to enjoy this phenomenon,” said Studer, who recently captured a viral image of a drone hovering near the lava. “I do feel like drones are extremely obnoxious, and I’m sure it was frustrating for some of the people there.”

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Air pollution masks – fashion’s next statement?

 

Yesterday saw the launch of M90, an “urban breathing mask” created by the Swedish company Airinum and sold in more than 50 countries. Face masks are already a common sight in Asian countries, although the cheap washable cotton rectangles rarely perform well in tests. Surgical masks, the type usually worn by doctors, have tended to fare better – but are still largely ineffectual. The market for pricier, more attractive masks has been growing steadily in the past few years. Sales are not notable but Freka, a British brand, had the monopoly for a while. And rightly so, given that they tapped into the trend for minimal sportswear, almost Céline-like in design, seeking to become more of a background accessory than anything stand-out.

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Air pollution masks – fashion’s next statement?

 

Yesterday saw the launch of M90, an “urban breathing mask” created by the Swedish company Airinum and sold in more than 50 countries. Face masks are already a common sight in Asian countries, although the cheap washable cotton rectangles rarely perform well in tests. Surgical masks, the type usually worn by doctors, have tended to fare better – but are still largely ineffectual. The market for pricier, more attractive masks has been growing steadily in the past few years. Sales are not notable but Freka, a British brand, had the monopoly for a while. And rightly so, given that they tapped into the trend for minimal sportswear, almost Céline-like in design, seeking to become more of a background accessory than anything stand-out.

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Biodegradable six-pack rings double as fish food

Florida’s Saltwater Brewery has a pretty clever idea for replacing those environment-destroying plastic rings holding your Tecate cans together: animal food. Technically, the rings are a combination of wheat and barley, leftover from the brewing process. The brewery hopes the biodegradable (and fully digestable!) packaging will help stop marine life and birds from choking on plastic.

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Seabin – cleaning the ocean one marina at a time

This is a rather clever idea… and really simple.

Seabin sucks water in and filters out plastic, fuel and other waste that otherwise floats near the surface.

The Seabin project is currently attracting funding via IndieGogo – find out more here.

How a ‘typo’ nearly derailed the Paris climate deal

climateTalkes.jpg

If ever you need a story to back up your advice to students to get someone to proof their work before they submit it, here it is… (my emphasis)

It soon became clear that something had gone very wrong in the text. Rumours swirled, and it was later confirmed by US secretary of state, John Kerry, that the US had objected to Article 4.4 on page 21 of the 31-page final agreement. US government lawyers had found, it was said to their horror, that they had unwittingly approved a vital word which could make the difference between rich countries being legally obliged to cut emissions rather than just having to try to: “shall” rather than “should”.

Here is global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright on the significance of the two words: This article requires developed countries to undertake economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets but developing countries to only “continue to enhance” their mitigation efforts. In the draft that was presented for adoption there were two critical words – “shall” and “should”. The expression “shall” applied to the developed countries’ obligation and the word “should” applied to the developing countries’ obligation. There was a crisis.

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What should fashion look like in 10 years?

1920s British news film image of future fashion

Nicola Fumo writing for Racked

Fashion is moving faster than ever — but you knew that. Product turnaround is lightning speed, shipping is nearly instant, customization is the norm, and smart watches know more about our day-to-day lives than our significant others do. In the wake of all this innovation and business-model-upheaval is, unfortunately, some pretty nasty gunk: water and air pollution, unfair labor practices, massive waste. The fashion industry is in a duality: on one hand, it feels like the future is miraculously now, with promise of faster, cheaper, smarter clothes and accessories. On the other hand there are environmental threats and factory fires; the sad badge of being one of the most polluting industries on earth.

An interesting article in which figures from the fashion industry talk about the direction it needs to take. Top takeaways:

  • sustainability and environmental impact
  • ethical manufacturing
  • health
  • embedded technology

Fashion courses should be making this stuff central to their curriculum and I’d be shocked if students weren’t already clamouring for it if it’s not there.

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Bike lane blues: why don’t businesses want a £30m cycle-friendly upgrade?

As cars stream past on both sides, a pedestrian perches on a tiny traffic island waiting for an opportunity to cross. A cyclist dodges round a 10-tonne lorry, held up by a driver trying to reverse into a tight parking space outside a high-street shop. Angry horns blare.

It’s intimidating to be on foot or a bike in a space dominated by motor vehicles. In that sense, this suburban street in north London is like many of the radial roads that flow in and out of cities the world over – not a particularly pleasant place to be.

This road, though, has been given an opportunity to change. Transport for London has awarded the local authority, Enfield, £30 million from its “Mini Holland” budget to transform four busy streets into routes with Dutch-inspired segregated bike lanes, where people feel safe to cycle and want to spend more time. Under the plans, Green Lanes is to get lightly segregated bike lanes running along both sides of the road; there will be six more zebra crossings for pedestrians; a bleak under-used public space will be remodelled with community involvement; pavements will be resurfaced; there will be more trees, more planters … Local residents and high street businesses must be thrilled?

Not exactly.

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World’s first smog filtering tower goes on tour

Co-designed by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde, the seven-metre high tower sucks in dirty air like a giant vacuum cleaner. Ion technology then filters it, before returning bubbles of smog-free air through the tower’s vents. It is able to clean 30,000 cubic metres of air an hour, according to Roosegaarde.

Clean air is a precious commodity. A new study has found that more than three million people die prematurely due to air pollution each year. This is projected to double by 2050 if the problem isn’t tackled.

“The smog-free tower contributes to a debate that shouldn’t be confined to politics,” says Rotterdam’s mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb. “Air pollution is a matter that affects us all, and it requires a serious discussion. But we do need innovators like Daan Roosegaarde to start the conversation at another level.”

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