less by design

The great debate: reusable vs disposable nappies

By Lorrin Windahl.

I’ve recently had my first child and, being very aware of the impact I have on the environment, I have been faced with a dilemma – reusable or disposable nappies. And I thought the timing of this post would be quite apt considering the British royal family have just added another little prince to their tribe. So this one is for you Kate, in case you are still sitting on the fence.

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3D printing – sustainable manufacturing?

By Lorrin Windahl.

I came across this pretty cool use of 3D printing the other day – the Planter Brick. The idea behind the concept is that you can create a living wall with the planter bricks and because they are manufactured using a 3D printer, rather than investing in expensive tooling, the bricks can be customised to create different shapes and effects.

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Design for obsolescence: Are we the throw-away generation?

By Lorrin Windahl.

The phrase ‘planned obsolescence’ was apparently first coined back in the 1950s by fellow industrial designer Brooks Stevens. After 70 odd years you’d think we’d have come to our senses by now. But I think the notion of design for obsolescence is more popular now than ever before. Consumers today seem to have a thirst for new products that cannot be sated. It is a bottomless pit of consumerism. We want, want, want. And it’s exactly that. It’s not about need anymore but just want. We want that new phone, we want that new car and even before the model we already own has worn out. For the socially responsible designer it’s a very sad reality.

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IKEA: the global furniture giant shows its softer side

By Lorrin Windahl.

IKEA is synonymous with affordable, flat packed furniture. The yellow and blue branding has become an icon of the modern consumer era and can be seen in many countries throughout the world. But, the good news is that the Swedish furniture giant is now doing its bit for society by applying its design philosophy to those in need. Enter stage left the flat pack emergency shelter.

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Philanthropy in Australia: Are the rich morally obliged to give?

By Lorrin Windahl.

The other night I caught the ABC’s  Compass report entitled ‘Hey Big Spender’. It discussed the idea of philanthropy in Australia and looked at why the wealthy are reluctant patrons. As a whole we are a very generous nation with our time and money. However we lag behind other countries when it comes to the generosity of our wealthiest. They seemingly have deep pockets but with rather short arms.

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Designer Profile 4: Cynthia E. Smith

By Lucy Smith.

The Smithsonian Institute encompasses some of the best known and most reputable museums and galleries in the world.  The Institute was founded by the US government in 1846 “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge” and holds more than 137 million historical items. However, amazing as the Smithsonian is, we’re here to pay homage to its curator of socially responsible design, Cynthia E. Smith.

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For a product to succeed, being “green” isn’t enough

By Alistair McCaskill (Guest contributor from The Switch Report).

In the last couple of years I’ve interviewed the owners and managers of over 45 companies that are each contributing in some way to the move towards a more sustainable way of life. In the process I’ve met a lot of dedicated people for whom sustainability is a passion, and often business just happens to be the way in which they pursue it.

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The dirty truth about recycling

By Lucy Smith.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been told to recycle. As a child I recollect asking why I should do this and being told, ‘because it’s good for the environment’. Many years on when the question of recycling is raised, despite being much older and wiser (cough), I get the same overly simplistic answer.

So, what is the truth about recycling?

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Pulp – the green packaging alternative

By Lorrin Windahl.

So I mentioned in a previous post that polystyrene foam, which has been used for many years as a good impact resistant packaging material, is slowly being outlawed worldwide due to its low sustainability credentials. So what can be used as an alternative? One word – pulp.

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Saluting those that Salute the Reuser

By Lucy Smith.

In my time I’ve had the good fortune of being able to travel far and wide. One of the first things I say to overseas friends or out-of-towners who ask me about Melbourne is; ‘coffee culture’. It’s everywhere, and never have I seen a city that loves its coffee as much as Melbourne. This is a good thing, as I myself am a self-confessed coffee addict, I love the stuff. One thing I don’t love however, is the waste it creates.

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