Aotearoa's Recycling Revolution: What Does It Mean for Your Designs?

Aotearoa's Recycling Revolution: What Does It Mean for Your Designs?
Aotearoa's recent recycling changes means plastic lids are no longer accepted in your recycling bin. This present both challenges and exciting opportunities.

Now is the time to rethink how we design and build in Aotearoa.

For Critical. recycled plastics lids are some of the easiest material for us to use in Cleanstone and today's Cleanstone Sample 024 | is made from a blend gold recycled plastic lids and recycled soft plastics, nothing else. What do you think about this material design whānau?

This custom Cleanstone panel will be going into a fit out designed by Unispace and I can't wait to see what it will look like once it's complete.

I'm an optimist a heart and believe innovation comes from constraints. So here's what I believe how this constraint will shape our future:

Rise of Responsible Sourcing: With limited recycling options for some plastics, I see designers and manufacturers taking up the mantle through responsible sourcing for materials used in fit-outs (retail, hospitality, etc.) and designing end of life solutions into their products.

Innovation in Sustainable Materials: This limitation also paves the way for increased adoption of innovative sustainable materials like recycled plastic panels/ Cleanstone from Critical. It offers a wide range of options (like this gold lid sample!), all made from 100% recycled plastic while being 100% recycleable at the end of life.

I believe we are all responsible for the way we purchase and dispose of products that look after te taiao. Recycling is not just up to our government or a few companies working in this space. So if you are a designer, here are 3 actionable tips that might help you practice tiakitanga in the mahi you do:

1. Partner with suppliers who prioritize clear life cycle assessments for their materials. This allows informed choices that align with New Zealand's evolving recycling landscape.

2. Design products and spaces that last. Choose durable, high-quality materials like recycled plastic panels that require minimal maintenance and can be repurposed and then recycled fully at the end of their lifespan, supporting a circular economy.

3. Explore Alternative Materials: Consider using natural materials  or explore innovative bio-based materials, reducing reliance on single-use plastics or materials without an end of life solution.

Lastly I want to acknowledge important and growing work of community recycling centres like Envirohub BOP. These are grassroots communities helping to build the future of our nation's recycling infrastructure, often on tight to no budgets and producing outsized impact. Ka mau te wehi!

hashtagSustainability hashtagNZRecycling hashtagAotearoa hashtagArchitects hashtagDesigners hashtagFitOut hashtagRetail hashtagHospitality hashtagCircularEconomy hashtagRecycledMaterials hashtagResponsibleSourcing hashtagInnovation hashtagCriticalDesign
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