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Walking, Observing and Making – Rethinking Plastics in Edinburgh

Tao, Chloe Xingyu; Vettese, Samantha; Anastasiadou, Constantia



Plastic is a widely used material with great longevity, if designed, utilised, and re-used properly. However, the average usable lifespan for single-use plastic products is as little as 15 minutes and generally ends in landfill. The over consumption and disposal of plastic products have added pressure to pollution of the environment. Solutions to the plastic problem are directly related to people and their actions. Collaborative ‘crafting’, as a form of environmental education can be effective in raising people’s awareness of environmental issues and adopting positive behaviours. This paper presents findings from a public engagement activity carried out as part of the ErasmusPlus 2020, project “Reframing Perspectives on Sustainability: Appreciating Opposing Views to Influence Others and Drive Change” in Edinburgh, UK in February 2023. During a two-day event that focused on plastics as pollution and material resource, using lectures, a making workshop and multiple integrative methods and lo-fi crafting techniques 60 teenage students and 8 teachers from Scotland, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands became informed of plastic and its properties, its affect on the environment in Edinburgh, and co-created mementos that could be taken home. Findings highlighted the participants’ interest in alternatives to raw plastic that could be used in producing everyday consumer items, innovative ways to repurpose single-use plastic and an increased willingness to adopt environmentally friendly behaviours towards plastic consumption in the future. Collaborative crafting constitutes an authentic environmental educational approach that should be used more widely.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name Eighteenth International Conference on Design Principles & Practices
Start Date Mar 11, 2024
End Date Mar 13, 2024
Deposit Date Jan 8, 2024
Series Title Cultures of Transformative Design - Design Education
Keywords Sustainability, co-design, participatory research, plastic, craft, environmental education
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