Student designers at Newcastle College have impressed waste industry professionals with their ideas for reusable products after being challenged to become environmentally aware of their work.
The 28 learners studying for a National Diploma in 3D Design were challenged by Durham-based Premier Waste Management to construct sustainable design products out of recyclable materials that solve recycling problems, in a competition to determine which designs are best for the environment and will protect the planet in the future.
As part of the ‘Re-Think’ module – inspired by British furniture and lighting designer Tom Dixon, students from the college’s School of Art and Design presented their initial ideas to Tony Hitchens from Premier who provided ‘real-life’ industry feedback on the worth of each idea in terms of its environmental impact and marketability.
A diverse range of designs were presented such as emergency housing for disaster-stricken countries built entirely out of recycled materials, furniture made from recycled tyres, solar powered LED lights, glass bottles that are melted in the middle for increased stackability that can also be turned into iPod speakers, as well as designs for bookshelves made entirely out of books, lighting made from plastic bottles and recycling tin cans, metal cutlery and keys to make a range of homewares and novelty items.
Each Student will now have just two weeks to use the feedback to research and prepare their final idea, before they re-present to Premier and showcase their finished creations at a public exhibition planned for December, where Premier will judge and award the winning design with £500.
Tony Hitchens, Head of Marketing at Premier Waste Management, added: "I was most impressed by the students’ passion that was born out of their research into the global waste crisis. This was echoed in the creativity of their designs and it was great to see them taking their environmental responsibility so seriously, as they prepare to take their final ideas forward.
"As a company, Premier is always looking for new ways to combat waste and increase recycling. By working in partnership with Newcastle College we are raising awareness of the damage that waste and carbon emissions is doing to the planet, as well as educating the next generation of designers at the very start of their careers about the sustainability of their products, which must help to reduce, reuse and recycle waste in a closed loop." Simon Bolam, Tutor at Newcastle College’s School of Art and Design, said: "This is a fantastic live brief which really challenges the students to think about design and the impact it has on the world around them. The quality of the work the students have produced is excellent. They have worked incredibly hard and the experience will help to prepare them in the future."