Sustainable Practices Review

Over the past five weeks I have been studying sustainable practices. I was thrilled with this as it was my first choice of study this term. Through the session we have explored different theories and practices and how we can change our ways to more sustainable living, but also how the world needs to develop and change to accommodate what our planet is demanding.

We have looked at theories such as green design, eco-design, dematerialisation, linear economy and circular economy. These theories helped to support new and innovative ways of rethinking and redesigning ways of how we produce products that we consume every day. They helped to explain how rethinking how we product products contributes to sustainability. Such as looking at the lifecycle of a product and pin pointing in which stage, the production for example, which causes the most damage and which is the most unsustainable, so that we can change this part of a products life and make the product more sustainable.

We also took part in a lot of practical elements in the lectures, such as breaking into groups and researching different theories and practices and presenting them back to the class. In our last lecture we also looked into real products that had been found in landfill in Cardiff and tried to source the problem and understand why it had been thrown away and see if we could fix this issue. As a group we looked at a kettle, it was in good condition and when tested we found that it did work and looked okay cosmetically too. We decided that it was probably thrown away due to change in style and fashions and trends, as the kettle was bright red. We then decided to redesign the product to make it more sustainable, we could make the kettle to be used on a hob, this way you would get rid of all the electrical parts, then we considered if you needed a kettle at all, to heat water you could always use other object such as a pan, this would then be multi functioning you can use it to cook food and heat water, and in turn if ever thrown away would create less waste then if we were to own both kettle and pan.

What I have taken most from these lectures is that to help to create and redesign the world, we don’t need new and innovative products that we then consume and throw our old products away but to really make a different we need to be grateful with what we have and stop mindlessly consuming products that we don’t need, just to fit into social trends and seen to be widely accepted by society.

I found my essay challenging to write as critical writing isn’t my strongest subject. I thought for a while what I was going to write about and didn’t want to get the subject matter wrong as I feel that in the last year this is where I have struggled, by writing about a subject that I am not passionate or interested enough in, and therefore not having enough interest in what I am writing about. Luckily for me I have always had an interest in sustainable practices and how I can apply this to what I do, to redesign the world and make it a better place through design, as I truly believe that this can happen. So in the end I decided to write about how what we are consuming is destroying the world and through big companies such as Ikea where we are buying furniture for a quick turnover, we a hugely contributing to bad sustainable practice, I then compared this to companies such as Benchmark who create furniture that last at a high price, so that it is an investment and you keep the product for a long time and therefore there is less waste in landfill and less production of products. However, I then looked into how realistic this is as not everyone has expendable money to be spending on high end products that will last, the wider population is more likely to be able to afford companies such as Ikea. But also, how practical the change would be, and what really needs to change is our attitude towards what we buy and the life cycle that is has rather than changing the product itself as we are the problem. If we considered what we were buying and if we really needed it then we could reduce what we are buying the waste, we produce and the mass productions lines that we have. We then also need to consider how we are distributing the raw materials that we have in the world and be fairer to countries with less economy and not let big countries with high political influence and power rule and destroy our raw materials.

I feel that my essay was successful and that I was able to express what I wanted to through my essay better than I ever have been able to before, through last years essays. I feel passionately about this topic and felt that I was interested and engaged in the topic. I have taken a lot from this, including the way I see products in everyday life. I know that what I wrote could have been stronger, however I was pleased with what I was portraying within my writing.

I can easily apply this to my subject matter or interior design as I will consider what each element of my designs are made from but also how necessary they are, if they are really needed in this world, so if what I am designing is just taking up raw materials unnecessarily. I want my designs to change the world, not destroy it, so I will always be looking at how I can change and develop my work to fit this, with my knowledge from these lectures I will carry through to every design that I create.


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