Design to minimise environmental impact

7 August 2019

Our latest pop-up exhibition is on display outside MoDiP on the 1st floor of the AUB Library and accompanies Revolution: environmentally conscious design in plastics. Whilst the latter concentrates on the sustainability of different plastics materials, we thought we would use the pop-up to explore some objects from the collections that have been designed sustainably. The three cases look at alternatives to single-use plastics, innovative packaging and the Bird Headphones and the objects will be on display until 16th September 2019.
Here are some of my favourites:
The Collective Great Dairy Yoghurt pot, AIBDC : 008198 Image credit:
Black plastic is made by mixing scrap plastic of many different colours and it is fully recyclable, but the optical machinery used to sort plastics in recycling plants have so far been unable to detect the carbon black pigment. As a result, this type of packaging often ends up in either landfill or is sent for incineration. By working with leading recycling expert Nextek and additive/masterbatch specialist Colour Tone, The Collective have been the first food and drink company to develop an alternative black dye that can be ‘seen’ by the near-infrared differentiation used in separating plastics. Their new lids have been in use since October 2018.
The DeLuxe cutlery set, AIBDC : 007005 Image credit: MoDiP
Inspired by traditional 19th century Italian baroque silverware, the DeLuxe cutlery set was designed by Fabio Bortalani and Donata Paruccini for Pandora Design of Italy in 2000. Made from an acrylic/polystyrene composite, the four piece set is 100% recyclable but, as it is more robust than typical ‘cheap’ disposable cutlery and is dishwasher proof, reuse is encouraged. They are a good example to demonstrate that plastics materials should be valued not discarded.
The Sustain-It bottle, AIBDC : 008221 Image credit:
The Sustain-It bottle is part of an innovative new system being trialled in the UK between Coca-Cola European Partners, Validfill and the University of Reading. The refillable Tritan™ Copolyester bottle contains a microchip that interacts with dispensing technology within a new range of smart Coca-Cola Freestyle machines. Consumers pre-pay for drinks through a mobile app and then scan a code at the machine to access over 100 drinks. In addition to reducing plastic bottle consumption, the scheme generates lower carbon emissions as the drink mixtures can be sent in concentrated form by courier as and when needed.
Katherine Pell, Museum Collections Officer.