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Let’s Sort it Out! Tackling Waste Contamination to Increase Recycling

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posted on 2024-05-14, 11:22 authored by Adam Thorpe, Alison Prendiville

Working together with council officers and residents of Kilburn Vale and Chalcots Estates in the London Borough of Camden, BA Product Design students, supported by tutors and PCL researchers, explored how product design can contribute to making it easier and more rewarding to separate waste effectively. Over ten weeks, using the methods and tools depicted, the project took the journey visualised above.

Context

‘Contamination’ (failing to separate our waste effectively) is a major barrier to increasing reuse, recycling, compositing and reducing costs. If waste materials are not separated appropriately then they cannot be recycled cost effectively. Similarly organic waste cannot be composted if it contains too many non-organic materials.

Working together with Camden housing estate residents and London Borough of Camden officers, the BA Product Design students from Central Saint Martins explored the question how can product design contribute to addressing these challenges, making it easier and more rewarding to separate our waste effectively? They delivered a set of visualised insights and concepts, alongside produce and service design proposals.

This project demonstrated new ways of working with service users as active participants in shaping the future of services, rather than passive consumers of changes to services.

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