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7 great products where clever design thinking is leading change

We all know that being smarter about the planet is a hot topic at the moment, and the need to change our habits and general approach to many things in our lives is more a necessity than a wish.

From how we work, to how we live, there are so many areas in which we could improve to help reduce waste or empower those less fortunate. Design in all its shapes and forms will play a crucial role in this. Creative thinking and challenging preconceptions can only lead to better things being developed and consumed across every facet of our lives.

So, to celebrate this philosophy and because we felt inspired with what we found, here are 7 great products that have taken the design challenge by the horns and created a solution to a problem in some unique and downright brilliant ideas.

1. Liquid Soap – where packaging is the product 

SoapBottle is an elegant, waste-free product that does two things – it eliminates those pesky throwaway plastic bottles while giving you extra soap! Each SoapBottle comes in a slick, rectangular form with 100ml of liquid body wash on the inside. When the liquid runs out, the bottle itself can be used as a bar of soap all the way till it eventually disintegrates into nothingness, leaving absolutely no plastic waste behind.

2. WaterLight – powering communities without light

WaterLight is a portable light that can turn half a litre of salt water into 45 days of light. The device converts salt water into electrical power through ionisation. Electrical energy is produced when salt water electrolytes react with magnesium inside the device. As well as a portable light source, WaterLight also charges small devices through a USB port and in emergency situations, it can be powered by urine.

3. Chewing Gum Skateboard Wheels

French design students Hugo Maupetit and Vivian Fischer have developed a method for collecting discarded chewing gum and turning it into colourful, recycled plastic skateboard wheels. The gum is collected every week from installed special collection boards in urban areas of Nantes, France, where passers-by could stick their used gum rather than dropping it on the floor. The gum is ground together with the collection board itself, which is made from polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) plastic. The PMMA helps to stabilise the chewing gum as it is melted together and machined into the wheels for added stability.

You can read more about here:

4. Eco friendly Mailing Satchels

Eco-friendly packaging that’s here for a good time, not a long time. These 100% compostable mailers have been created to meet the demands of shipping but with a smart and colourful solution for all. Available in two sizes and made from biodegradable materials with a premium matt finish which is resistant to water and tearing.

5. TruEarth Laundry Strips

Tru Earth Eco-Strips are the smarter way to clean laundry and packs an ultra-concentrated, hypoallergenic, eco-friendly cleaning power into a tiny, pre-measured strip of liquidless laundry detergent that you just toss in the wash. Free from added dyes, phosphates, parabens and chlorine these clever strips even help reduce packaging and shipping logistics in one clean swoop (forgive the pun).

6. Rocketbook Wave

The Rocketbook Wave provides the freedom of a traditional pen and paper notebook, while instantly blasting your notes into the cloud using your smartphone. Using a Pilot FriXion pen with the Wave notebook, you can erase your notes using your microwave and reuse your notebook. Scan your pages using the free app and send them directly to your email or cloud services including Google Drive, OneDrive, OneNote, iCloud, Evernote, Dropbox, Box and Slack.

7. Saltwater Brewery’s edible six-pack rings for marine wildlife

Florida-based Saltwater Brewery has used by-products from the beer-making process (wheat and barley) to create six-pack rings that can safely be eaten by marine wildlife. If the six-pack ring ends up in the ocean, in a matter of hours it starts to break down, providing a source of food and addressing the issue of animals getting stuck in them. While this idea is just in development, we loved it so much we had to include it.