Futures Feed

How can brands build a zero waste future?

Infinite Ownership

"We are using 50% more resources than the Earth can support and if we continue in this way, we will need three planets to support human life by 2050" (Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International). Our unsustainable – and now critical - pattern of consumption needs urgent action. Moving away from misrepresented labelling and thinking bigger than just plastic and recycling, we need to reimagine solutions and whole system change to meet future and societal demand.

In this month’s Futures Feed – Infinite Ownership – we focus on four key areas of change that illustrate how brands can turn waste streams into valuable resources, create zero-impact production systems and design objects with an unlimited lifespan that actually give back more than they take from the earth’s resources. These shifts are brought to life with ground-breaking insights and best-in-class examples and showcase how brands can embrace these critical changes to create better products and systems as we collectively take infinite ownership of a better world.

Four key themes of Change

1. Future Mining

Reimagining discarded waste streams as valuable resources

2. Precycle Systems

Inspiring and championing a move towards unpackaging, refillable and reusable products

3. Infinite Heirlooms

Extending lifespans beyond recycling by creating objects for infinite use

4. Positive Afterlife

Designing for an afterlife to leave nothing behind but a positive legacy

What is the opportunity in this space?

- Design new desire – design waste and old and discarded items into desirable new objects of unique beauty and utility.

-  System change - move mindsets and motivations with unpackaged, refillable and reusable products as we move towards plastic-free environments and pre-cycling systems.

- The new infinity – with the increasing understanding of the pitfalls of recycling, create new heirlooms, legacies and lifespans for desirable new products that have infinite use.

- A circular approach - work with materials that are chosen and designed for a product’s full lifecycle and integrate into smarter circular systems and approaches to product design and production.

If you would like to download the full report, hear more of our thinking on Infinite Ownership or if you would like some tailored thought starters for you and your company, please get in touch below.

Image credits from top to bottom of the page: Ecobirdy, making children’s toys out of recycled plastic gathered from disused or broken plastic toys; Global Förändring by IKEA, a collection of home accessories made from rice straw that would otherwise be burnt by India's farmers; Suelo Orfebre glassware by Simon Ballen created from a waste product of gold mining.

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