December 5, 2018

Sustainable Thinking

As one of the Leighton Park’s values, the community realises the importance of sustainability in an ever-changing world such as the one we live and on Tuesday 4th December, Design Engineer, Erica Purvis, highlighted the imperative need for sustainability in each and every product in order for them to have the least damaging environmental impact.

Through audience interaction, Erica revealed some shocking statistics: only 14% of the world’s rubbish is recycled; one third of food is wasted globally each year; 8 million tonnes of rubbish makes its way into the ocean – that’s equivalent to a truck dumping litter into the ocean every minute!

After becoming fascinated with lifestyle analysis and eco-efficiency Erica decided to focus her work on environmental problem solving, opportunity finding and strategy development, with a particular consideration on a product’s complete life impact, as opposed to just the lifecycle a product has to get to the consumer.

Erica delivered an inspirational speech, showing students that a product needs to be designed for longevity and should be made in a way that encourages an attitude of reusing, maintaining and recycling.

Being more innovative and creative is design was also a highlight of the talk, as Erica revealed a variety of ordinary looking bags that were made from obscure materials including firehoses, deck chairs and pineapple leaves!

“The talk was eye-opening. You don’t really consider that is it in companies’ interest to produce products to purposefully break in order for them to make more money. I would be interested in finding out what we can do to encourage businesses to be more environmentally friendly.” enthused Sophie.

“The talk definitely gave me a lot to think about and how we can be doing so much more day-to-day to reduce the waste that is produced. I think it will be interesting to see what changes we can make at Leighton Park to be more sustainable in all we do.” commented Alex Beckmann, Assistant Marketing Manager.

“I really enjoyed the talk, as I felt it really helped my understanding of the ways people nowadays design and create products to reach sustainable designs that can help in a range of ways. It also helped me to see that the route someone can take to reach a position is unique for everyone. Overall, I really enjoyed the talk and found it really interesting, especially as I am doing my DT coursework which strongly links to many of the ideas shown in the talk today.” added Annie.

“Despite not having a major interest in engineering, this talk had quite an impact on me. Awareness of the issues surrounding product waste and what is being done to solve the issue is essential in this current climate with all the changes it is going through. Hearing about what organisations are doing to make products more sustainable and what inspires them was incredibly thought provoking and I’m sure it will influence the way I look at products and think about what can be done to tackle climate change.” considered Lexi.

“It was a great experience to learn from someone with experience in the industry how we can work to be more environmentally conscious when we approach tasks in design, manufacturing and use of products.” commented Fred.

“What’s great is that the students are being educated and that they are the designers and engineers of the future; if they can create things with a perspective of being sustainable then they will be the game changers.” summarised Mark Smith, Head of Design and Technology.

Close up of PowerPoint slide entitled Plastic, Products, People & the Planet

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