We’re in a world driven by consumerism, choice and unparalleled access to anything we want. In the world we live in today, the consumer is king and manufacturers all race against each other to provide innovations and convenience to the customers, at the risk of massive wastage in materials.
I’ll give you an example – a new product goes to market claims that it aligns with the idea of sustainable living. The 2 most popular products are metal straws and reusable bags. In theory, switching makes sense, we can use a metal straw in perpetuity, but a plastic straw once. In reality, the carbon footprint to manufacture just one metal straw is much higher than a plastic straw, and if we don’t fully utilise the metal straw, we’re just adding more stress to the environment.
At this point, should we just give up?
Should we forgo sustainable living?
The problem isn’t in trying to replace straws. The root cause would be in the actual drinks design. Think about it – an example like the phenomenon of bubble tea – was designed to be consumed with a straw. Iced lattes, or any iced drinks in general. Focusing on just plastics alone will never solve the environmental issues. We need to focus on redesign the consumer experience.
When I was in India, drinks were provided in clay cups, biryanis in clay pots that could either be recycled as pots for plants, or simply crushed and returned to earth.
Or a concept more relatable to females, such as the freedom cup.
Surely the cumulative intelligence of the entire human race would be powerful enough to work through all these issues we’re facing? I think, we’re going to see some kickass work happening this century.
Would you want to be part of this transformation?