6. Find Value in Waste
If we do more to increase the longevity of products and materials, we shouldn’t need to throw so much away. In the meantime, however, there are still plenty of things that end up in the landfill. Some of the Decorex speakers focused on how we can instead repurpose these products and materials.
“I’ve just written a book about things made from waste and I feature 30 makers, all of whom are using things that would have ended up in [the] landfill as their primary material,” writer Katie Treggiden said during the Design With Purpose discussion. “What’s interesting is that many of the makers said, ‘I don’t think we should call it waste anymore —it’s not waste, it’s a resource.’ Increasingly, the things we need are in [the] landfill rather than in the ground.”
Sutcliffe cited his brother, who previously worked in mining. “He used to say to me, ‘Today’s landfill [sites] are the mines of the future,’ ” Sutcliffe said. He explained how sorting technology can help this process, as can the initial design of the products.
Treggiden gave the example of a tagging system that can be put into materials at the design stage so people can easily identify the particular material, disassemble the product and reuse it later on.