Recently I have noticed that more and more restaurants use very durable disposable containers(microwavable PP containers) for take outs. The size is ideal and I have been using them for my lunch box, or even use them as regular utensils.
As compared to those flimsy clear ones, I definitely prefer this. However, what happens when you start to have more containers than you need? Recycle is one way, but IMO it’s quite a waste of energy to produce something for only one-time use, let alone the waste that has been created along the way.
When I was in S.E.Asia, they use banana leaves or recycled wax paper for certain kinds of food, mostly rice dishes, for take outs.
A few years ago, I saw a news on some dude from Taiwan invented chewable disposable plates. Basically, these bowls and plates are made from harvested crop husks and binded with some kind of edible resin(starch?). After use, the restaurant can just throw everything in the food waste bin and fed to the pigs. It’s an excellent solution that literally illustrates the concept of waste = food. However, I’ve never heard anything about that since then.
So here are two approaches to sustainable designs. One is to create a “burden free” product. The other is to create something that is durable for usage, therefore won’t be treated as waste as easily.
Then I was reading Cradle to Cradle(3/4 through). It talked about fundamental changes from the design phase. However, I believe that most of us(designers) are capable of creating sustainable designs. We just need to get the opportunity to do it, ie. project owners should be asking for sustainable designs but most aren’t.
So again, the issue isn’t about the product or technology, it’s what we demand and supply. Maybe this is a stupid question to ask, but, if being environmentally conscious benefits a business as mentioned in the book, why isn’t such mentality being promoted as effectively as it should?