Building on my last post about the alternatives to plastics – this blog post from The Zero Waster puts a big emphasis on looking at the whole production process of materials, and being wary of replacing plastic with materials that are perceived to be eco-friendly. It is specifically the single-use plastics we should be avoiding, and not necessarily other plastics… The production of cotton is incredibly water-intensive, and you would need to re-use a cotton bag 173 times before it becomes more environmentally-friendly than a single-use plastic bag (The Environmental Agency 2011).
Buying re-usable containers is only more sustainable if you remain conscious of the environmental impact these alternatives create when they are produced, and actually remember to re-use them.
I think the main attitudinal change that needs to happen is to reduce consumption – we buy so much stuff we don’t need, and so much of it is not made to last. I need to think about how I can design a campaign that could visually communicate this, and decide how to narrow my focus so it is not quite so overwhelming. Single-use plastics is the theme I started with, so it makes sense to continue in this line – I think my wider reading has now reminded me of the scale of the problem and the fact that there is no straightforward answer to it. A message that I really need to come across is along the lines of USE WHAT YOU NEED.
Some variations of that could be:
Use what you need.
Do you need that?
What you want is not what you need.
Where will I [throwaway object] be in 50 years? > imagery of everyday objects in beautiful serene natural settings. Rubber duck idea > could be illustrated.