One of the Real Solutions to the Plastic Problem - is Design Thinking.

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Where does an idea of a mass produced item take its first shape? Where does the  conceptual sketching of the business strategy, the functionalities, the packaging, the aesthetics and the supply chain take shape?

Often at the designer´s desk.

The days of creating a linear life cycle product are ending, and we now have to make a complete shift into a circular product life cycle product mentality. All of us.

As designers, we have been creating products and packaging, where the frame of reference is product usability, product branding and product design.

We -the design agencies, bring new products into the world. We nurse them and bring them to life. And we do not ask questions about their final destination.

We are creators, we make things come to life.

In the linear resource mindset of design thinking and creating, we have never asked questions like “where does my material come from?” but considered it as an unlimited resource, a secret chemical blend coming from a neutral source.

“They probably have full awareness of the environmental consequences, they seem like nice people. “

And there is a reason for our use of plastic and for our history of using plastic. It is cheap, it can take any shape and it gets the job done.

Over the last 10 years we have been aware of the waste issue, and there has been an increased awareness of the development of long-life products. But still with a linear resource mindset.

We take resources, we make products and packaging, we use them and then we throw them away.

We believe that the design process is one of the real solutions to the plastic problem, and the process is capable of addressing and making explicit product solutions for this urgent matter. Products and packaging can be made so they can be used many times. And when they cannot be used anymore, clever design can make it easy to separate the products into parts, in order to sort the parts and recycle the waste materials again.  

We take, we make, we use, we reuse, we make, we use, we reuse..up to 20 times.

We, the design agencies - need to take responsibility and make this important difference. Design thinking and the design practice, have to be the absolute starting points for thinking and doing this right. And doing it right means doing it circular.


RIkke Ullersted