Perception of disposables

MaterialDesign on the ‘Perception of Disposables’

On 18 September the evening seminar ‘Perception of Disposables’ will take place in the Materia Inspiration Centre in Amsterdam.

Organised by the MaterialDesign foundation, the meeting is part of Materia’s “Leisure & Hospitality” theme period.

That ‘disposables’ as a subject is part of the Leisure theme should be no surprise. Leisure is about convenience, and what is more convenient than things you can throw away after use? The world of disposables is enormous – and still growing – and goes well beyond packaging and single-servings. The medical world uses disposable syringes, test strips, surgical tools and so on. This is mostly for reasons of sterility, which we also see in the food industry. Heavy industries use throw-away overalls, but also shaping and assembly tools, such as moulds and trays, that are discarded after use.

Catering makes clear and frequent use of disposables. At fast food chains we find little else, but disposables have been introduced in many areas, including in the context of vandalism. Some bars serving beer may not pour it into ‘real’ glasses because these could be used as a weapon. This has been standard practice at pop concerts for a long time. Much attention is therefore paid to the recyclability of PET cups. A return machine for this purpose was recently presented on the occasion of the ‘Perception of Waste’.

Flex Development
One office that has frequently been involved in the development of disposables is the Dutch design firm Flex Development. In many of its projects there is an explicit link between disposables and experience. To Flex co-owner Jeroen Verbrugge the concept of disposables has never implied low quality. Quality makes no difference to the amount and type of the material, but rather to the functionality, ergonomics and identity. In some cases, identity is given to the object due to the ergonomics and functionality. A good example is the Flexa paint bucket. Jeroen Verbrugge will share his views on the design of disposables and materials.

In the aviation industry disposables receive full attention, particularly at KLM. Special requirements apply to airlines for catering materials. Cost and weight play a central role but quality is also a concern. An interesting question is whether quality and disposability can go together. Following from this, there is the question of when disposability is allowed, or whether an intermediate form should be used, such as replacement after a set number of uses. The question is which is better from an environmental point of view. Marjo Broertjes, Corporate Social Responsibility specialist for KLM will explain.



Ultimately, every perception depends on discussion. There is plenty of time to deal with the subject matter and to speak directly with the experts first-hand.



17:30 Reception and opportunity to visit the Materia Inspiration Centre
18:00 Introduction by Els Zijlstra, Creative Director of Materia
18:15 Vision on designing disposables by Jeroen Verbrugge (Flex Development)
18:45 Break and opportunity to visit the Materia Inspiration Centre
19:15 Quality and disposability in aviation by Marjo Broertjes (Corporate Social Responsibility for KLM)
19:45 Discussion moderated by Wim Poelman
20:00 Informal session with drinks

You can sign up on the MaterialDesign website.