Questioning things further develops our understanding about materials and their impact on nature. If we understand where and how products are made, we are more likely to have a clear responsibility as a buyer. The capitalist economy is a major contributor to waste and the use of unsustainable materials. Cradle to cradle is the perfect solution that could bring a healthier economy; the circular economy.
Designers are responsible for creating alternative designs that can lead to a greener economy. For example, The Netherlands has created agricultural technologies that use less resources yet create more products. Dutch farmer Jacob van den Borne has started to attentively study the precise amount of resources that plant need to grow. He is now able to control soil chemistry, water content, nutrients, and growth. The greenhouse fields are temperature regulated, leading to a 95% decrease in the use of chemical pesticides. This consideration not only cultivates a more sustainable method of agriculture but also increases production so much so that The Netherlands is now listed as the second-largest global exporter of food.
Another alternative sustainable design is grape-lather or wine-leather, created by Vegea, a company based in Milan. They aim to create plant-based alternatives that can be synthesised for fashion, furniture, packaging, automotives & transportation. A technique has been developed using the waste products of the winemaking process, such as grape marc, grape skins, stalks, and seeds. Using this technique, waste can become a desirable product again i.e. leather.
Both of these examples advise us that studying products could present solutions, creating alternatives materials that are more sustainable and still desirable to the wider public.