DESIGN FOR DISASSEMBLY
“Mods,” his submission, comprises better-for-the-planet fibers such as bamboo, for the toe box and elastic wires and bands; wool, for an insulated, moisture-wicking inner sock lining); and recycled polyester from recycled plastic bottles, for the bespoke three-dimensionally printed sole.
“The modular design can be easily assembled and disassembled allowing for an easy clean,” he wrote in his entry. “After use, if one of the parts is deteriorated the user would send that unit back to the manufacturer to be recycled into a new part.”
By prolonging the life span of the shoe, Pham said, the product “reduces material waste and slowly reduces the carbon footprint step by step.”
The bamboo and wool components, he added, are compostable, while the PET can be recycled into new filaments.
“Although a percentage of the materials will be lost during the recycle and conversion process, all the materials are not wasted,” Pham said.
The Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge, hosted by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, Autodesk, and the Alcoa Foundation, is a biannual competition designed to drive the development of “circular economy.”
“Designers have a pivotal role to play in driving long-term solutions that circumvent the concept of waste in favor of materials that can remain in a perpetual cycle of use and reuse,” Lewis Perkins, president of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, said in a statement. “From retail packaging to human shelter, the Spring 2016 Challenge winners are outstanding examples of the way young designers and design professionals alike are stepping into the crux of this revolution, using cradle-to-cradle principles to pioneer ideas for innovative materials applications and, in turn, the circular economy.”
Have a world-changing idea like Pham’s? The next Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge will open for entries in September.