Sustainability is a hot topic, as hot as summer 2016. This trend is the backlash of overconsumption and the demand for convenience. To accommodate our busy lives, we used to prefer fast food over slow cook, fast fashion over locally-made clothes, private transportation over public. However, now many consumers are seeking more sustainable products that are not only good for them but also the earth. They are more inclined to make a decision that is good for the long term.
However, living sustainable is not always easy. According to JWIntelligence’s report on sustainability, 88% of people say if the sustainable lifestyle could save them money they would adopt it– especially if the lifestyle is convenient. Upon this rising demand for sustainable products, brands and designers make changes in the business model and use alternative materials.
Some of the innovation we see today will determine how we live in the future. We will see that:
- The future is circular: Consumers prefer products with an extended lifespan by adapting to the circular economy (an economic model that aimed to reduce waste and making the most out of resources.)
- The future is open source: Brands are giving away the secret ingredient of their sustainable products; pushing others to follow.
- The future is science fiction: Designers and technologists are joining forces to think of the most efficient way to reduce waste without giving away the product’s novelty.
Reuse — The future is circular
Circular economy aimed to reduce waste and to make the most out of resource. With this system, they are giving longer lifespan to the product consumed. Subscription based model is now commonly used on this economy.
Myro offers subscription-based natural deodorant that comes with a reusable container. Younger audiences especially are drawn to lifestyle-driven visual messaging, the minimal options of scents and case colors.
Loop helps consumers to reimagine the day-to-day consumption coming from big brands such as Colgate, Unilever, and Nestle. With Loop, consumers can order these products in reusable containers which will be returned and refilled; like how we consumed milk in the bottle back in the day.
Realizing that people move 12 times before buying their first home, several furniture businesses turned circular. IKEAis planning to launch a renting service that helps customers borrow and return as needed. Startups such as Feather and KamarQ have been doing this model earlier.
Feather focuses on renting stylish and high-end-furniture to millennials at a lower price. Customers have the flexibility to change furniture according to their needs. Furniture rented moves from one hand to another; giving it longer life-span. Similarly, KamarQ offers more basic furniture to their customers, yet, it always comes brand new. Rented KamarQ’s furniture will go back to the factory and rebuilt using minimal new material.
Recycle — The future is Open-source
Brands are giving away the secret ingredient of their sustainable products; pushing others to adapt. Adidas just released Futurecraft Loop shoes made from recycled marine plastic waste and illegal deep-sea gillnets. The product is a collective effort made with Parley the Oceans, an organization that focuses on raising awareness on ocean sustainability. This transparency opens the door to information needed for other brands to create sustainable products.
Allbirds collaborate with a Brazilian petrochemical company, Braskem, on producing sugarcane-based foam, which they called Sweat Foam. Allbirds aims to make this technology available to other companies in the future.
Reduce — The future is Science Fiction
Designers and technologists are joining forces to think of the most efficient way to reduce waste without giving away the product’s novelty, starting with changing the production process.
On average, we waste around 15% of the fabric used to make one cloth, which makes more than 15 million tons of used textile waste each year in the U.S. alone. Algorithmic Couture, a project by Synflux, tries to tackle that by making zero waste clothes that fit the individual user precisely using algorithms collected through 3D-scanning.
Sushi Singularity brings novelty and appeals back to food through a hyper-personalized approach. The restaurant will 3D-print sushi filled with the right amount of nutrient needed by the individual customer according to her/his DNA. The future will likely be hyper-personalized like this to anticipate unnecessary excess as we try to avoid food crisis that is predicted to happen in 2050.