The Design Museum details our age of waste and showcases what design can do help

In 2018, it was reported that without urgent action, global waste would increase by 70 per cent by 2050 if current levels remained, meaning we would generate 3.40 billion tonnes of waste annually. Can design help address these pressing concerns? That’s the question The Design Museum is asking with its new exhibition Waste Age: What Can Design Do? opening tomorrow in London. The museum hopes to invite visitors to find out how designers are redefining fashion, construction, food, electronics, packaging and other industries through over 300 objects, by designing out waste and creating a more circular economy.
The third and final section, “Post Waste” proposes new circular methods of production and a focus on grown materials instead of ones extracted. Clothes, products and packaging made from materials like coconut, algae and corn husks will be showcased. Fernando Laposse’s The Dogs bench uses, for example, raw fibres from the leaves of the Agave plant, whilst The Blast Studio’s 3D-printed column, made with waste and the fungus mycelium, is a reference for a future of no-waste architecture.
After that, the show draws our attention to solutions and innovative thinking. The “Precious Waste” section of the exhibition hopes to see visitors learning about the raw materials used in everyday products by way of object deconstructions, created by Studio Drift, as well as designers known for their work of recycling waste into new resources. For example, sustainable materials in fashion by Stella McCartney, Adidas and Bethany Williams will feature. And construction materials such as the K Briq by Kenoteq, which uses almost 90 per cent less carbon than regular brick, or reusable plastic like the S-1500 chair by Snøhetta made from discarded fishing nets, will be on show.
“Peak Waste,” the first section, aims to confront visitors with the gargantuan scale of our global waste and hopes to make the case for urgent change. Visitors will be able to follow their rubbish across the globe through a large-scale waste tracker. This section has been created with the goal of examining how we arrived at today’s throwaway culture, where 80 per cent of products are thrown away in their first six months of life, according to The Design Museum.

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