Earlier this month, at its Festival Zero Waste in Paris, Zero Waste Europe announced the launch of the People’s Design Lab. This is an international project aimed at identifying and redesigning poorly designed and wasteful products, helping to pave the way for a more circular economy.
The People’s Design Lab online platform is targeting products that it believes “break too early”, are not repairable, toxic, are unrecyclable or, for any other reason, are seen as “unfit for a circular economy”. It will citizens to take action in highlighting the problems and identifying the zero waste solutions.
The nomination stage of the People’s Design Lab will runs until 2 September and will identify some of the worst designed and most wasteful products. Following that, two rounds of voting will take place to choose the products that will be focused on in the redesign stage, and some solutions to their wasteful design will hopefully be proposed.
During the third stage of the project, Zero Waste Europe says that “redesign workshops” will be held across Europe to provide opportunities for online participation for not only citizens, but also designers, entrepreneurs and public authorities to be involved in redesign ideas, before efforts will begin to turn these ideas into reality.
Zero Waste Europe, Policy Officer Delphine Lévi Alvarès said: “Waste is just a symptom, if we want to fix the problem we have to focus on the source, creating a world where everything is designed for repair, reuse and recycling. The People’s Design Lab will facilitate the involvement of citizens in highlighting problematic design and finding creative and innovative solutions.”
Examples of badly designed products which have already been submitted include boiled eggs removed from their shells and repackaged in individually wrapped plastic containers, and iMac chargers which are prone to breaking sooner than expected.
The People’s Design Lab takes inspiration from the Little Museum of Bad Industrial Design in Italy, and “The People’s Design Lab UK” where examples of bad design were identified by groups of citizens and attempts were made to redesign the products with zero waste alternatives.