I personally am very passionate about the environment, so I want to ensure that we create a product that will be sustainable every step of the way. I’m not the most talented when it comes to designing products, however, research and planning is my forte. My design process would essentially revolve around everything outside of the product. The outside forces such as materials, collection, transportation, and distribution. With our plastics project, I would love to focus more on the ways in which we can sell the products locally and work with the women to ensure that everything is running smoothly for them. I’ve talked about this before in other posts, but keeping our projects environmental impact in mind is extremely important when dealing with this project. Doing this in a sustainable manner is extremely important to me, and taking into account the cultural impact we will have is major in this process.
I feel as if our project concept is fairly straightforward when it comes to assessing validation. Reducing the number of plastics put into the environment and re-using them by creating different products from them is always a plus. The impact that this project will have on the local women in the Philippines will be tremendous as well. Allowing them to earn their own income and providing them with financial freedom is a liberating thing for some women in developing countries. One criticism I can see maybe appearing out of this project is the argument that we aren’t truly doing anything to eliminate these plastics from the planet. If pollution is our problem on this finite planet, shouldn’t we just stop using them all together? Stop producing plastic products if that’s our problem! But, we are simply taking the plastics that have already been produced by consumers and re-using them hopefully so more plastic won’t be created for those products we are planning on creating. It’s difficult to get rid of such important material within any society. I know in some places plastic bags or straws have already been banned, which is a step in the right direction, but you won’t see a nation or a town turn around and ban all plastic.
Being able to engage with everyone involved with this project is essential to the success of it. We cannot simply think solely about the product and the product design. We have to think about who is going to be using it and the impact it is going to have on the community as a whole. If we create a plastic cup made out of recycled materials and sell it in a shop next to another plastic cup, what’s going to make the consumer buy our cup over theirs? We have to take into account the design, the size, the price point, and where we are going to sell these products in the first place. Even if our intentions behind producing the cup are good, that doesn’t immediately mean that someone is going to buy it. We have to be in tune with the current market and understand what is in high demand and what is going to best help support these women. Working within the community and talking to our partners may help us with this process, as we can get a sense of what is really needed and what will draw people in. If we make larger products we might have to start thinking about marketing strategies. Aspirational marketing is one great way to help sell a product. You want to make and advertise something that people aspire to be. Something that is ‘cool’ or ‘trendy’.