DMTV Milkshake: Katie Treggiden Is Making Sense of Waste

This week’s Milkshake guest is our very own Editor at Large, author and speaker Katie Treggiden, who recently released her latest book Wasted: When Trash Becomes Treasure, which examines waste in design.

“My question is always, ‘now what?’” says author and speaker Katie Treggiden, whose book Wasted: When Trash Becomes Treasure arrives in bookstores this month. She’s referring specifically to the problem of furniture items marketed as heirloom treasures, the sort of the piece designed to be handed from one generation to the next. “At some point, that object is going to become obsolete,” Treggiden says. “So we’ve really got to think about the end of life of the objects we’re designing, even if they’re designed to last for a really long time.”

That idea – of impermanence and its costs – filters through much of the work showcased in Wasted, like the U.K. designer Aimee Bollu’s vessels, crafted to incorporate a specific piece of waste, like a single stalk of dried purple broccoli. In her video, Katie also shares how she confronts conspicuous waste on the personal level (Mad Men viewers will recognize a certain picnic-centric motif) – and whether the job of reducing waste will best fall to government, corporations or the consumer, who’s been told to reduce, reuse and recycle since birth. “While I think that it’s incredibly important for us to claim our personal agency and make the difference that we can to our personal waste footprints, I think we’ve also got to start pushing back up the chain,” she says. “There are people who’ll take everything out of the packing at the till at the supermarket and leave it all there for the cashier to deal with – and while I think that’s unfair to the cashier, it does send the message back to the supermarket: We don’t want all that plastic wrapped around our fruit.” Buy Katie’s book here and read her Design Milk column on this same topic: Circular By Design.

View Katie’s DMTV Milkshake episode above, then check out the rest of the series here.

Diana Ostrom, who has written for Wallpaper, Interior Design, ID, The Wall Street Journal, and other outlets, is also the author of Faraway Places, a newsletter about travel.

Milkshake, DMTV (Design Milk TV)’s first regular series, shakes up the traditional interview format by asking designers, creatives, educators and industry professionals to select interview questions at random from their favorite bowl or vessel. During their candid discussions, you’ll not only gain a peek into their personal homeware collections, but also valuable insights into their work, life and passions.

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