This Is Not A Drill | Environmental Design

When it comes to environmental design I gravitate the most towards sustainable packaging design because I feel that this is where most of our waste truly comes from.  When I think landfills, recycling centers, or garbage island – oh, excuse me I mean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – that is a trash vortex that is mainly composed of U.S. garbage that’s accumulated in the Pacific Ocean and has only been growing and destroying more and more over the past few decades.  This island of trash is only an extension of the island of North American trash, and if we don’t push corporations to clean their act up, we’re all going to be in a world of polluted hurt.

Instead of writing out my anger, pessimism, and depressing opinions and thoughts on this topic, I would like to talk about some hopeful dreams, options, and opinions when it comes to helpful design in the environmental world.  First and foremost I would love to see the popularity of 100% biodegradable packaging.  If this means that people have to re-use or re-plant or re-whateverthehellthey’retoolazytoactuallydo then so fucking be it.  I remember in high school “Sun Chips” came out with a completely biodegradable chip bag (see below) and the response was “this bag is too loud when we reach in to grab chips with” and resulted in a 11% drop in revenue sales1.  So what did the Coca Cola company owned business do instead? They just redesigned their bag to make it a little less loud, but still biodegradable and healthy for the planet.  I would love to see every chip bag or sack sold product redesigning with this idea in mind.  If a lazy person decides that they want to dump their used snack on the side of the road instead of taking it to a recycling or garbage container, can it naturally decompose? 

2011 compostable SunChips® bag

Another positive change that I would be delighted to see would be major food chains, be that fast food chains, restaurants, or grocery stores having a recycling and donation bill placed or implemented for their businesses. I’ve worked in either food or retail for the past ten years and I can tell you first hand the amount of waste that these major corporations produce is mind boggling.  I cannot believe that there is no regulation as to where these plastics go, what leftover food can be kept or thrown away, or god forbid you drop a cup on the store’s floor, even a whole sleeve of 50+ cups must be thrown away if it even brushes the tiles of the business floor.  “Well it’s a health concern!” you might say, well Karen, if you’re more concerned about getting a cold or disease from a sanitized floor possibly covered in crumbs of dirt tracked in from outside, I must say I’d highly suggest you reassess the health of yourself and the rest of the human population when those countless sleeves of cups end up drowning, contaminating, and killing our ocean and really then reevaluate the concern of “your health”.

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