Single use Plastics – our responsibility as designers and users

On the day that England is finally forced to join the rest of the UK in charging for disposable plastic bags, I see that before mid-morning #plasticbags is already trending on twitter, which much of the rest of the world is finding (quite rightly) funny.

The low price and ease of manufacture of all things plastic has led to an absolute storm of ‘stuff’, most of which ends up in landfill, or even worse, the oceans.

Plastic bottles filled with water being sold in parts of the world where tap water is perfectly fine, lazy and irresponsible food packaging, pods containing a spoonful of coffee, and an endless torrent of badly designed plastic products from China are all things which in my view we should shun.

water-bottle-waste-tampa-floridaScreen Shot 2015-10-05 at 10.12.30Cheap-chinese-crap










This photo is of a plastic water pistol my son persuaded me (against my better judgement) to buy him because it was placed right next to the checkout at a store we visited in the summer. It was only a couple of pounds. I thought it wouldn’t last long, but I hoped I might be wrong, and that he’d have some fun with it. The shaft of the pump snapped within 10 minutes of him starting to play with it, leaving a sharp and dangerous jagged end.

The people who designed and made this product must have known how weak it was. The buyers and distributors who give the go-ahead for it to fill containers coming over from China must have known what a poor design it was, but they still do it.

And we still buy it.



IPlan-packn everything I design, I work hard to reduce the amount of materials used to the minimum possible at which they will enable a product which is fit for a long and useful life, and can then be disposed of with minimal impact to the environment.

When designing the Plinth, I avoided using the clear plastic clam-shell pack that would have made it so much more appealing in-store, and enabled a much better user understanding of just how good the product is; instead I went for minimal 100% card packaging.

..Maybe not one of my better decisions?






There are many organisations which are helping to raise awareness of the problems we are causing our children by our continued irresponsible use of the wonderful material which is plastic, but I particularly invite you to have a look at, and perhaps add your name to:









Returning to the subject of bottled water – take a look at his innovative genius idea from London based group Skipping Rocks Lab.

Forget the water bottle – pop one of these ‘bubbles’ of water in your mouth, take in the water and swallow the whole thing – the membrane is made from seaweed and calcium chloride. Take a look at the article by clicking the image.




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