Exhibition view photos by Felix Speller; Oxford Tire Pile #1, Westley, California, USA, 1999 photo, Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Flowers Gallery, London / Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto; Microplastic Tidelines at Tregantle Beach, Cornwall, courtesy The Cornish Plastic Pollution Coalition; From used to coffee cups to living furniture, courtesy Studio Blast
Waste Age tells the story of the environmental crisis created by our ‘take, make, waste’ economy. The exhibition explores how trash can be transformed into new resources, and how design can help usher in a new age where there is no such thing as waste. Globally, over 2 billion metric tons of rubbish are produced annually and the World Bank estimates this will increase to 3.4 billion metric tons by 2050. Today only 15% of that is reclaimed. We are at a crisis point – we need to radically rethink our throwaway economy, changing systems and materials as well as thinking and behaviours. This exhibition explores what lies beyond our current toxic waste infrastructures, exploring the environmental, social and geopolitical forces at work. Here visitors will be immersed in the waste crisis before being shown the transformative potential of new design approaches that are redefining fashion, construction, food, electronics or packaging and the new materials that will help shape a cleaner future. This is an exhibition that not only seeks to imagine alternative futures, but one that empowers the visitor to be part of the solution.