Design for Life – Sustainable Design from Cradle to Grave

As we draw this blog series to a close we turn our focus to the epicentre of this topic – a subject super close to our design hearts, sustainable design, that seeks to provide a genuine end to end cradle to grave solution.

This means the concept has been designed not only using sustainable materials, but perhaps the product seeks to have a multiple-use lifecycle, and ultimately, when it comes to the time to dispose of the product, if it really cannot live on, that the deconstruction and disposal of the product has been thought through, or better still, taking back ownership for disposal, as the manufacturer themselves.

Photo: by John Cameron on Unsplash

We have some fantastic examples, some we’ve looked at before, some we haven’t, but we continue to share with you some of the hands-down best examples of cradle to grave (gradel….anyone… design we’ve clapped eyes on.

Consumers are demanding more than ever before from the products they invest their money, time and allegiance too. Consumers are demanding more sustainability, more responsibility and more corporate social responsibility than ever before.

Here are some of the leaders in our eyes…

Borrn Again

We lead with the Borrn baby bottle. Yes again!

This is, for us, is a stand-out example of cradle to grave product design, which we first discovered a couple of years ago, but it continues to stand tall in our minds, so we’re bringing it back…baby!

The Borrn baby bottle, and beyond, realized by the team at Blond Design, have really nailed the full product lifecycle in way that at the time was still fairly new, but now thankfully and rightfully so, is being considered for more and more products as we evolve.

Borrn’s concept was designed with sustainable materials, non-toxic and fit for purpose – the sort of product a conscientious parent would be proud of. Secondly, whilst initially the purpose is a baby bottle, the design cleverly evolves with the baby as they grow and can therefore be used indefinitely.

The design palette is so considered with neutrals which are suited to either and any gender and won’t be outgrown in a heartbeat or a few million.

And finally, when it comes to the end of the products life, (or should that be if?) born offer the consumer the chance to send the product back for deconstruction, recycle and responsible and ethical disposal where needed.

That’s sustainability goals for you baby! A worthy previous Red Dot and European Product Design Award winner!

Check out the Borrn baby bottle designed by Blond here.

Photo: Borrn via Blond Design

Go Gomi – It’s Your Birthday!

Ok for legal reasons it is actually not their birthday – however, we are really enjoying their new Birthday Cake colourway.

Each of these stunning portable speakers is made from 100 waste carrier bags, and the latest upgrade since we last checked in on this beauty, is that the Gomi is now 100% powered by re-purposed batteries. The batteries have been rescued from damaged Lime electric bikes, making these striking works of art cleaner on energy too.

As fellow believers in the end-to-end lifecycle Gomi have also committed to taking back the devices at the end of their life for deconstruction in order to recycle the hugely valuable parts which will benefit from another lifecycle.

Learn more here.

Photo: Gomi

Definitely Not Taking the MYC

This is a whole different approach to cradle to grave product design, potentially in the most literal way possible, ironically.

The MYC barbeque grill has been created from a part of fungi called mycelium which is a fireproof, vegetable-based (therefore biodegradable), safe and edible for humans. Mycelium is considered an easy to grow material so the impact on the earth is nominal.

The icing on the cake is the biodegradable nature of it which means not only will it return itself to the earth, but it will also fertilise the land while it does so.

The grate itself is also great, as it’s made from bamboo, so it can also biodegrade and fertilise itself back into the earth.

How on earth could an aluminium disposable barbeque be ethical, once you know this is available?! It’s a no brainer!

Learn more about MYC here.

Photo by MYC via Yanko Design

Computing Re-imagined

This company have achieved the impossible. Forget the idea of refurbished laptops – Circular Computing have invented a truly unique remanufacturing process, which ultimately delivers a laptop that is equal to a buying brand new but is technically a second use product.

Because Circular Computing deconstruct, re-spray, re-print and re-build each and every model to the exact same ‘as new’ standard. This means that the consumer has no need to compromise on reliability and scalability, not to mention the feel-good unboxing moment we all have come to know and love, all while keeping costs around 40% less than buying the equivalent brand new!

Top that with each remanufactured laptop saving the earth a ton of carbon dioxide emissions each time you pick a Circular Computing laptop. Not only that, the team are committed to significant reforestation projects and will plant 5 trees for every laptop purchased.

And the cherry on the top is that when working with large organisations, once the new laptops are in place, Circular Computing are able to take back the old laptops and put them through the remanufacturing process. Imagine the e-waste savings this solution delivers – what a concept – well done Team Circular!

To learn more read on here.

Photo: Circular Computing

Bouncy Castle Heaven – Literally!

Wyatt & Jack have well and truly coined a critical market when it comes to the afterlife of our bouncy castles, inflatables, deck chairs, banners and beyond.

This organisation pride themselves on their Inflatable Amnesty, which is all about encouraging people needing to dispose of bouncy castles, inflatables and suchlike, and shipping them to Wyatt & Jack to use as robust materials for their bespoke range of bags.

So first and foremost Wyatt & Jack use reclaimed materials that already exist, costing the planet nothing in raw materials. Next the company use any offcuts for other projects, such as shipping offcuts to jeweller Stellen to create her famed ‘I used to be a bouncy castle’ earrings.

And finally, if you purchase a product from Wyatt & Jack that requires a repair at any stage, they ask you to send it back so they can mend it at no charge, before sending it back.

Even better still, if the product has reached the end of its life, Wyatt & Jack offer a returns policy which allows them to deconstruct the produce and give it a new lease of life as something else. To really provide that final incentive, they also offer £5 off the purchase of the consumers next product.

This is such an ethically sound product which deserves a good helping of kudos – take a look!

Photo: Wyatt & Jack

We’ve really enjoyed checking out these exceptional examples of cradle to grave product design, highlighting that it is truly possible to run a productive business with a genuinely sustainable and ethical approach, and zero compromise for the business and, most importantly, the end user.

If you enjoyed these examples of stand-out sustainable design, check back with our social pages to keep up to date with our latest discoveries! You can find us over on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

We can’t wait to see you there!