Live panel discussion on the challenges of making sustainability mainstream by Dezeen and Material Lab

A panel of experts including sustainability writer Katie Treggiden shared their personal journey towards creating a less wasteful future, in this live talk hosted by Dezeen for design resource studio Material Lab.

The talk, called Valued or Wasted: Four Perspectives on Making a Sustainable Impact, was moderated by Dezeen's founder and editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs and also featured The Good Plastics Company founder William Chizhovsky.

Treggiden and Chizhovsky were joined by Nature Squared founder Lay Koon Tan and Jason Bridges, who is the head of procurement and production support at heritage British tile manufacturer Johnson Tiles.

The four panellists discussed the challenges they face in their attempts to make the design industry more sustainable, and how their journeys cross over and diverge.

The live conversation also covered the role of collaboration in the design industry, how to turn discourse into action, and the ways in which sustainability could work as a business strategy.

"The obstacles for a very traditional, 120-year manufacturer like Johnson Tiles are very different to those of an entrepreneurial business like The Good Plastic Company," said Bridges.

"As the UK's only surviving large scale tile manufacturer, we've had to navigate our industrial set-up to move forward sustainably; both to address the environmental crisis and to stay in business," he added.

Katie Treggiden
Author Katie Treggiden

Treggiden is a journalist and author who champions the circular approach in design. She is also the host and producer of the podcast called Circular with Katie Treggiden.

Earlier this year, she published her fifth book Wasted: When Trash Becomes Treasure, which explores the question: can craft save the world?

"Wasted: When Trash Become Treasure is about the role that craft can play in sustainability and the circular economy while acknowledging that design is also part of the problem," said Treggiden.

William Chizhovsky
The Good Plastic Company founder and CEO William Chizhovsky

Chizhovsky is the founder and CEO of The Good Plastic Company, an organisation with a circular business model that manufactures environmentally friendly recycled-plastic sheets.

The company's main mission is to contribute a solution to the 400 million tonnes of plastic waste that are generated by the global population on an annual basis.

"We've worked hard to ensure our mission and operations are aligned," said Chizhovsky.

"We've removed industrial plastic waste while being wholly reliant on renewable energy and creating zero-waste processes."

Lay Koon Tan
Lay Koon Tan, founder of Nature Squared

Tan, one of the makers featured in Treggiden's recent book, is co-founder of ethical design brand Nature Squared, together with Paul Hoeve.

Nature Squared aims to reimagine waste materials as luxury products, and is best known for creating a dashboard made from feathers for British car brand Rolls Royce.

"Shifting people's perception of 'waste' is definitely a key challenge," said Tan.

"People think that to make luxurious products, you have to use precious virgin materials. It's simply not true."

Jason Bridges
Jason Bridges, head of procurement and production support at Johnson Tiles

Bridges has a background in engineering and is the head of procurement and production support at Johnson Tiles, where he has overseen the eradication of all single-use plastics from its packaging.

His work also focuses on the implementation of wider initiatives at Johnson Tiles, including energy efficiency, waste reduction and water management.

This talk was produced by Dezeen for Material Lab, a London-based design resource studio and material library that was established in 2006 by Johnson Tiles.