This New Design Tool Was Created To Help Businesses Go Plastic-Free

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A new online designed tool backed by A Plastic Planet aims to help designers and business leaders eradicate one trillion pieces of plastic waste from the global economy by 2025.

Following two years of development, the PlasticFree site is now live; the new design tool spearheaded by the action group A Plastic Planet is aimed at tacking plastic in packaging, textiles, and products.


The platform is helmed by more than 40 of the world’s pre-eminent designers, scientists, and business leaders. PlasticFree’s Advisory Council includes Thomas Heatherwick; Sir David Chipperfield; Tom Dixon; Shaway Yeh and Skylar Tibbits of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as business leaders such as Eden Project co-founder Sir Tim Smit, WeTransfer co-founder Damian Bradfield, and Natural Fiber Welding Founder Dr Luke Haverhals, as well as Green Queen own Sonalie Figueiras.

Scientists including medical expert Professor Hugh Montgomery OBE of University College London and green chemistry pioneer Professor Terry Collins of Carnegie Mellon University are also part of the program.

PlasticFree Benefits_Create What’s Next. from PlasticFree on Vimeo.

According to A Plastic Planet, PlasticFree is aimed at supporting the more than 160 million global creatives that work on product and packaging design. The site features reports on more than 100 plastic-free alternatives and insights into system changes including solid formulations and permanent reusable packaging.

Plastic is a global problem exacerbating ocean pollution, landfill waste, and human health issues. An estimated one million plastic bottles are purchased every minute, while up to five trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year, according to the United Nations.

“Everything begins with a creative process,” Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet, said in a statement. “There is significant power held by the 160m global creatives to help us rethink how we take, make and waste, to reimagine different systems and material uses in a very different way from today. Our default dependence on incredible but toxic and indestructible plastic has to end. Designers want to be part of the solution but there is a minefield of misinformation out there. If we can ignite and empower creatives by giving them trusted, relevant data and inspiring case studies, we believe we can change everything much faster.”

System change

According to Sutherland, the platform has “one simple goal” — to make the designer “the smartest, most confident person in the room to push back against that inevitable brief that says just use a bioplastic or a recycled polymer, so we get a green tick.”

Sutherland says the focus is on system change “not just better materials.”

“We are extremely grateful and proud that so many design and science leaders are supporting us on this mission. Bringing together creatives and scientists is imperative to fully educate and convince those making critical decisions on our future,” Sutherland said.

The tool is already earning high praise. Jos Harrison, Global Head of Brand Experience & Design, Reckitt Benckiser Group, said there are “few things more exciting to a designer than finding the combination of like-minded passion and depth of expertise. PlasticFree combines these attributes in a platform that will empower teams of designers inside and outside our organisation – and across the industry; this can only be a good thing – supercharging the unique capacity of designers to imagine and improve the future.”

Laura Stein, CCO, Bruce Mau Design says designers need to understand the full life-cycle of what they make. “Instead of cobbling together continually emerging technologies and ideas, using PlasticFree makes it easy—and inspiring— to better our practices by bringing it all together in one trustworthy place. PlasticFree fills an important void to accelerate positive action against our biggest human challenges.”

“This is the tool I have waited my entire professional career for,” said Caitlin Gauthier, Founder and CEO of design group CONFEDDE.

As part of the launch, PlasticFree will attend the World Economic Forum at Davos. It is also holding an event at the Parsons School of Design in February in partnership with Dezeen. It’s aiming for 10,000 subscribers before the end of the year.


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