We, as end users, don’t know what happens to our plastic waste and assume that most of what ends up in the yellow bag will be recycled. A large proportion of our waste goes to countries, that are supposed to be responsible for the plastic problem. We see the enormous masses of yellow sacks perhaps twice a month, our problem gets shipped elsewhere and people on the other side of the world, e.g. malaysia, have to live with it. Since the import stop of China in 2017, the topic has become more and more present in media and people’s minds.
With this bachelor thesis, we want to offer an opportunity to enhance the perception of our habitat, because the consequences of our daily consumption aren’t transparent and are seldomly questioned. Even though the research takes a lot of effort, a lot of people are familiar with the term Zero Waste, which is a way of life in which you produce almost no garbage. More and more people are becoming enthusiastic about it.
But how do people start living this lifestyle? We remembered where we started and realized that we had all started with items in our bathrooms, such as replacing a disposable razor with a metal shaver, like many friends and members of the Facebook group “Zero Waste Germany” did. This is mainly because sustainable alternatives can be found in regular supermarkets, and there is no need to go to an unpacked store nearby.
The topic of our bachelor thesis concerns the entire world population. We focus on people who are interested in sustainability and are open to alternatives. But we don’t just want to address people, who already dealt with the topic, but also those who have never come into contact with it before.
Through the “FairHandeln” fair in Stuttgart, we got to know the Ministry for Environment, Climate, and Energy Baden Württemberg. There are a number of exhibitions, that dealt with sustainability, which could be a perfect spot for our project.
Our goal is to create clear and transparent possibilities that lead people to sustainable, conscious consumption with everyday objects. We want to offer alternatives and expand perceptions of our living space. To achieve this, we must disclose the consequences of our daily consumption.
Our concept is a bathroom scenario where sustainable “Simple Swaps“ replace conventional products. A monitor above the sink, where a mirror is traditionally installed, is providing information about the products and instructs the user on how to interact with the media station. In the bathroom, there is a shaver, toilet paper, soap, deodorant, tampons, cotton swabs, toothpaste and a toothbrush that can be replaced with a more sustainable version on our “Simple Swap” shelf next to the bathroom. If the product has been replaced with another, the visitor receives information about it on the monitor and learns if and how much better the replaced product is. Once the user has exchanged all the products in the bathroom, or wants to quit, a QR code is sent to the user’s smartphone to provide a summary of their User Journey. The review allows the user to compare the new findings with the items he has in his bathroom and replace them with a more sustainable alternative when the products are used up. At the same time, for the more advanced „Zero-wastler”, there is also a kitchen scenario that works similarly. Instead of bathroom articles, visitors exchange kitchen utensils for more environmentally friendly ones.