Hi DP DT Students,

After my last post on social based caring design, here is another unit which should be close to your heart! In fact if you look at your syllabus the core topic 2: Resource Management and Sustainable Production and the higher level topic 8: Sustainability show that this is probably one of the most important areas in the syllabus. The importance of this is that the IB believes that you as future designers must design for sustainability otherwise the world will struggle more and more to cope with how we live.

What I love about designing for sustainability is the amount of innovation and creativity that is going on out their to truly inspire you already.  Here are six projects that show the variety of ways to think through the area of sustainability when you design.


Example 1: Made in Bamboo Toys

Check out these simple designs which use bamboo an extremely fast growing and so renewable resource to utilise. In fact Bamboo should be looked at as a wonderful material to use (yes you can use in your projects as well!!!) that can solve simple problems but also be used as an amazing and very strong construction material as is shown in this International school sports hall.

Example 2: Beirut Trash Crisis: Coffee Ground and Waste Paper Pulp

At this website the city of Beiruts’ designers looking upon the waste their city produces  and have come up with over 8 solutions including many that does not just recycle but up-cycles common products such as paper pulp and coffee grounds.

Example 3: Air Conditioning with Plastic Bottles?

My favourite of the examples shown, recycling is not the only way re-use can in fact be much more effective.

This project is ingenious: we all know of the problem plastic waste and specifically plastic bottles are causing the environment any solutions for re-use are welcome. This project uses a simple physics principle to cool existing houses:

Hot air enters the bottles from the outside and then sends cooler air out of the thinner neck. The principle is similar to the effect when you exhale into your hand with an open mouth or with pursed lips. Feel the difference for yourself!

Lets hope this idea spreads far and wide.

Example 4: Toothbrush Design

Design for disassembly does not need to be complex, and your constructive discontent can be focused on a common product such as a toothbrush? 

Have you never wondered how every three months you throw away another plastic object, but not want to use an overly complicated electronic toothbrush which has its own environmental problems? This design separates handle from head and enables only the head to be thrown away, alongside using renewable resources such as bamboo for the handle. Simple but effective!

Example 5: Kids Clothing Lasts Longer

Last but not least, rethinking a product for it to last longer and so increase its time to obsolescence. This is a simple fashion product which extends the product lifecycle of kids clothing. If you note inspired maybe by Issey Miyake’s classic fashion designs?

Hopefully five really interesting design ideas that will inspire your own projects and designs during your DT IB years to be sustainable!