“Our planet has provided us with an abundance of natural resources. But we have not utilized them responsibly and currently consume far beyond what our planet can provide. We must learn how to use and produce in sustainable ways that will reverse the harm that we have inflicted on the planet.”
UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 Responsible Consumption and Production

There are 7.7 billion people and counting on the planet, and every day each one of us produces waste. The global amount is staggering and comes in the form of single use plastics, metal and glass that are often burned or dumped, left to accumulate along our coastal waters.

In fact, every year, 800 million tonnes of plastic land in our oceans. Some have estimated that by 2050 the amount of plastic in the ocean will outweigh the number of fish. Microplastic has even been found in the air we breathe.

Though recycling efforts are being embraced across the globe, it is not enough to reduce this massive problem. A recent World Wildlife Report projects that single-use plastics will continue to rise about 40% over the next decade. The global COVID-19 pandemic, with its disposable gloves and masks, has only exacerbated the existing crisis.

Photo credit — Left: Lucien Wanda / Right: Karolina Grabowska

Sustainable consumption and production are critical if we want to reverse current trends. It’s about doing more and better with less, changing our consumption patterns away from environmental degradation and promoting sustainable lifestyles.

Arthur Huang, the creative and highly sought-after trash designer who heads up the Taipei-based MINIWIZ studio, has long preached the concept of sustainability.

Huang set up shop on the small island of Taiwan, which, with a population of over 23 million and limited space to dump its trash, was open to Huang’s green innovations and his ultimate mission to change the linear economy into a truly circular one.

Credit photo — TRASHPRESSO

Since 1993, when the country struggled with the nickname ‘Garbage Island’, Taiwan has grown into a global leader in recycling, with 1600 recycling companies collecting 55% of household trash and 77% of industrial waste.

For over 15 years now, Huang and his MINIWIZ team have used Taipei’s garbage (such as aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and shoe soles) to build bus shelters, buildings, exhibition spaces and even airplanes. Their building modules, engineered with interlocking functions for easy assembly and to avoid chemical bonding agents, have won the attention of international cities and global brands.

“We think it is wise to minimize,” says Huang, explaining the name behind his studio. “We aim to put green living, green materials into people’s hands.”

Photo credit: TRASHPRESSO

MINIWIZ’s newest eco-friendly innovation is TRASHPRESSO — the world’s first mobile trash upcycling plant. Powered by the sun and about the size of two small refrigerators, it collects, sorts and transforms waste with minimal air and water footprint and at only 7 kwh of power consumption.

TRASHPRESSO has been working in cooperation with the public and private sector to help build schools with local waste in Tibet and to transform ocean plastics into floor tiles for coastal communities in Sardinia. Its end product of upcycled waste is currently being used in commercial retail spaces, hotels and offices around the world for companies such as Nike, Philip Morris and National Geographic.

TRASHPRESSO engages communities through hands-on campaigns featuring gamified activities and workshops, inspiring others to not only turn their plastic waste into durable products but also to adopt circular consumption behaviours and promote positive recycling habits.

Photo credit: TRASHPRESSO

“We are obsessed with making the circular economy a reality,” says the TRASHPRESSO team. “We live to support the mass adoption of a circular system whereby all the materials we use are reused, again and again with zero waste.”

This project aims to address the following UN Sustainable Development Goals: 12. Ensure responsible consumption and production patterns; 12.5 Waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse; 13. Reduce methane and CO2 from dumping and urning waste; 14. Reduce plastic pollution in the oceans and sea life; 15. Less pollution on the land, healthier environments

WDO’s World Design Impact Prize™ was established in 2011 to honour and elevate industrial design driven projects that benefit society. The award aims to bring visibility and recognition to socially responsible design initiatives around the world.

View the other World Design Impact Prize 2021 shortlisted projects.