Find out how fashion and textile technology graduate Iago Santos Ligtenberg is tackling the plastic problem through circular interior design
The beginning of a new economy
It was a book that inspired me to do something about the plastic problem. Material Matters, by Thomas Rau and Sabine Oberhuber, introduces a new economic model in which consumers merely use rather than own products; in which materials have rights; and in which there’s no such thing as waste. Reading it gave me a sense of possibility and a practical blueprint of what a circular company and a circular future should be.
Plastic: a misunderstood resource
At Luwies™, we believe in the value of resources and materials. More importantly, we believe in the power of plastics! Plastic is currently mistreated on an unimaginable scale. If used the right way, it has the potential to be recycled virtually endlessly — and is therefore immensely valuable. The idea of throwing tons and tons of valuable material in the ocean is absurd! We want to emphasise the value of plastic and create a product ecosystem in which products and materials flow freely from user to recycler to user: a scenario in which all plastic is turned into new products forever, and nothing is thrown away.
A circular future powered by technology
I want to grow old in a world where we don’t have to throw away any products or materials. Where all our products are designed in a way that they can be changed, exchanged and updated indefinitely. Where our products are personalised, express the way we think and feel, and do not limit our living standards. I envision a digital infrastructure that makes the free flow of goods and products possible, increasing our quality of life while decreasing our negative impact on the planet.
Advice for young changemakers
While what I said earlier is truly what I dream of for the future, I try to stay grounded when it comes to my work. It’s easy to get tangled up in romantic visions or too focused on perfect future-world scenarios. Try adopting a practical mindset and set short-term, tangible goals for yourself (and your team). It’s not only about making noise but about really offering something that is of value to your audience and your customers. It may seem like a challenge, but we recently created our first fully recyclable monoplastic furniture set for Saxion University of Applied Sciences. If we can do it, you can, too!
Are you a higher vocational or university student graduating on the topic of plastic waste or clean water? Sign up for the Dopper Changemaker Challenge by 12 April! You could win a research grant to boost your graduation project, introductions to an established business network and promo support for your plastic-free or crystal-clear water idea!