This past weekend Matt and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the Greener Gadgets Design Competition. Jill Fehrenbacher and Mike Chino of Inhabitat were great hosts along with Allan Chochinov of Core77. We were thoroughly schooled on the latest in upcoming sustainability concepts, the new wave of design all over the blogosphere, and some hip new businesses rising to notoriety.
Design was of course a major theme at the convention, and some new and old heads in the design world gave their two cents about what it means to design sustainably and where the future of design lies. Saul Griffith set the tone with his “Heirloom Culture” and “designing for the age of consequence” spiel that resonating with the afternoon panel discussion titles Green Design for Good.
Gadi Amit of New Deal Design made no qualms about his ideas towards sustainable design. More and more we see products made from recycled material, natural sources, or other green marketed materials. The thought of producing with straight up plastic has a stigma associated with it in today's green world. What does Gadi think..."Plastic is amazing!" The focus should be on the usability, durability, and the lifecycle of a product.
Mr. Amit designs for people, making products that improve the quality of their life, so that a product has increased value to that individual making them less likely to discard it. Gadi Amit is a proponent of crafting for value, and creating an "Heirloom Culture" where products aren't thrown out due to every increasing "feature creep" rendering last years model obsolete.
The next panel discussed Closing the Loop in Cradle to Cradle ideology. The panel consisted of Ron Gonen of Recyclebank, Micheal Newman of ReCellular, Carl Smith of Rechargeable Battery Recycling, and David Thompson of Panasonic. The focus was on creating recycling programs for the mountains of electronic and other consumer waste that the modern world produces in our product centered society.
Ron Gonen wants to change the paradigm of recycling from something we feel we should do, into something we can profit from monetarily. When money is involved people will conquer their laziness and seek out recycling oportunities. Ron states that two approaches could be taxing people for the waste they produce, or reward people for the recycling they take part in. He believes, and based his company Recyclebank, on the second principle of rewarding those who recycle.
While listening to the panel, and the questions from moderator Joshua Topolsky of Engadget, it was tough not to feel some sympathy for David Thompson, director of the Corporate Environmental Department at Panasonic. His company very much depends on the relatively high turn over of consumer electronics that Panasonic produces. He did promote Panasonic's "dematerialization" efforts in that their new TV sets use up to 50% less material reducing their footprint on the environment.
Finally we closed with the official competition as ruled by a "clap-o-meter" app on Allan Chochinov's iPhone. Below is a clip of the Riti printer:
The final winners were:
4. Laundry Pod
Sources: Inhabitat, Doug Gunzelmann