Little Lemon Studio

Design Musings

Je deteste le plastique

It is predicted that there will be more plastic bags than fish in our oceans by 2050 – World Economic Forum (WEF).

We’ve heard this horrific stat time and time again, but no one seems that fussed in Europe – except France. France has made a stand once again. First they tried to tackle food waste, and now they’re attempting to rid the country of disposable plastic.

A law was passed in July 2016 totally banning plastic bags from check-out counters in shops and this will extend to plastic bags in fruit and vegetable sections of supermarkets by 1st January 2017. Much like Morocco’s plastic bag ban, it’ll take years to phase it out entirely. To top this, France is trying to pass a law to ban all disposable plastic utensils – including cups, cutlery and plates – by 2020. This should give manufacturers time to adjust to biodegradable and compostable alternatives.

The reaction to this brave movement has received mixed emotions to say the least.

Oceans aside, France discarded 4.73 million plastic goblets in 2015 and supermarkets use 17 million plastic bags annually. For all you consumers and packaging manufacturers out there, that is a lot of rubbish. But there is a fear that using biodegradable material will only worsen the country’s litter problem. Will consumers be more likely to throw their packaging out into the streets than before? The main focus revolves around bio-sourced materials that our compostable. This is not necessarily effective in cities, but the more pressing issue is that the breakdown of material takes time. If you can educate a population on the right disposal methods, we wouldn’t have to worry, but that could be just as effective as telling a child not to eat candy.

Furthermore, when looking into how products impact the environment, a full analysis of energy consumption and emission during the whole life cycle should be considered. Glass, for example, can be more wasteful in production and after use than disposable plastic cups in terms of energy. A compostable solution may create a cradle-to-cradle life cycle – which is ideal – but there is no proof that bio-sourced products will actually be beneficial to the environment due to original energy consumption in the manufacturing process.

Now for the manufacturers’ complaints. There are three main issues here: violating European manufacturers’ rights, expense and technical difficulty. Many packaging manufacturing firms, particularly those based outside of France, are trying to get the European Commission to take legal action. The other side of things are more technical. Materials will, at least initially, be more expensive to manufacture and thus product prices will rise. Then you have the problems of hot food and drink. It is incredibly hard to make bio-sourced material cope with heat. Innovation is key here, in fact, I previously wrote about Narayana Peesapaty solution to disposable cutlery in India. It is a question of taking that forward thinking approach to packaging, cups and plates.

Phasing out plastic is part of France’s Energy Transition for Green Growth Act – an act to make France a world leader in adopting more environmentally friendly practices and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But environment aside, heating plastic is rumoured to be detrimental to our health. Whether this was another element of the act, I don’t know, but it is also a great reason to move away from plastic in products like ready-meals.

We produce 20 times more plastic than we did half a century ago and it’s predicted to triple in the next 20 years. That’s primarily plastic for packaging. France is taking a huge risk here, but it is a risk we should all be taking to keep our streets clean, improve our health and, probably the most important reason, to try and sort out our planet. 

People! This is a huge opportunity for designers, engineers and scientists to band together to reimagine the manufacturing industry, make something that will seamlessly enter our everyday lives and impact the world hopefully for the better.

What IKEA is going to flat-pack next

IKEA – the blue and yellow shop of hope for students, newly-weds and homeowners alike – will launch something a little different in August 2016. Known primarily for its affordable, sustainable and well-designed furniture, IKEA has taken a step into the outside world and will be releasing the SLADDA bike.

A bike you say? Yes. IKEA, in collaboration with Swedish agency Veryday, has designed a sustainable flat-packed bike made from aluminium. The brand’s iconic simplicity is captured in the grey colouring and plain bike frame which gives it a gender neutral aesthetic. Surprisingly, this 2 wheeled vehicle can be used by riders from the tender age of 12.


Now the flat-packed part got me worrying a little, but it turns out that you won’t have to play around with chains when assembling the bike because the SLADDA has none. To avoid rust and oil consumption, the bike simply has a belt instead of a bike chain. Obviously, IKEA would find a way to eliminate impracticalities and move its new product down a long-term sustainable path, but I do have my doubts on how resistant the belt is to wear.

Armed with only 2 gears, this eco-friendly machine has claimed a Red Dot award for the “Best of the Best” category. How does a bike become la crème de la crème of product design? By having customisable features. The SLADDA comes with accessories such as a basket or bike trailer. These can be added by using a click-in-system that carry everything from your puppy to your briefcase.


Oskar Juhlin, Director of Industrial Design at Veryday, claims that “SLADDA is like a tablet with apps, in the sense that you can customise it with several different accessories adapted to make everyday life easier for the user”. Increasing usability will hopefully help people switch from cars to bikes and ultimately develop a more sustainable society.

IKEA has taken us all by surprise by moving from interior home products to braving the great outdoors. It will be interesting to see if the SLADDA becomes a popular purchase, especially as IKEA has previously launched an almost-unheard-of electric bike that mysteriously disappeared from its catalogue (I’m guessing it was flop).

In Swedish, SLADDA means to skid sideways. With a prestigious design award already in hand, let’s see if this bike can make a stylish entrance and leave its competitors in the dust.

Crunchy Cutlery to Overthrow the Plastic Spoon

Across the world, plastic is having a detrimental effect on the environment, but in India it seems to be a more magnified problem connected to health too. With a large streetfood culture, India’s plastic cutlery waste is highly damaging. What if our plastic spoons could be disposed of in a non-destructive way or be used to create a positive impact? Narayana Peesapaty has the answer: Bakey’s Edible Cutlery. Continue reading “Crunchy Cutlery to Overthrow the Plastic Spoon”

2016 App Adventure

The New Year has rolled in and so have some amazing new concepts. I was snooping around to find what would excite me in 2016 and, in my design geekiness, this little startup has just opened a whole new world to me. Continue reading “2016 App Adventure”

I Ride My Cardboard Bicycle…

One of the things all design has in common is overcoming a challenge. Not only does it force you to take a new perspective on things, but it teaches you to use every skill you’ve ever learnt and apply it to the task at hand. No matter how hard it is, you’ll find a way to solve it and that is exactly what Izhar has done.

This man was essentially told that making a cardboard bike was impossible, but he created a durable, cheap and functional one out of things we discard everyday. Cardboard, recycled plastics and car tires. Whoever thought we could be pedalling around on hardcore origami? Not only is the bike water and fire proof, but it can support up to 300 pounds too! He has now gone on to create Cardboard Technologies and is trying to change how we use materials to create a more sustainable planet. Please take the time to watch this video on his spectacular design.

What I hope you’ve taken from this is that if you have an idea, give it a go. Literally anything is possible if you put your mind to it and if you’re upping the environmental game then that’s a bonus. I dare you, go prove a cynic wrong!

Project Monsoon: Bringing Colour to Seoul

Cold, grey and rainy. Those are the words I would use to describe today, but the onslaught of rain made me wonder. What if there is a way to bring magic to these dreary days? A quick search and presto! I may have found the most beautiful project I’ve ever laid eyes on. Continue reading “Project Monsoon: Bringing Colour to Seoul”

Glug Brighton

I had debated for a couple of days whether to venture down to Brighton for my first ever Glug event and, thanks to a friend, I was easily convinced. Talks, pop-up shops and some friendly drinks? What more could I ask for! Continue reading “Glug Brighton”

The Backpacker’s Journal: Buenos Aires Infused Street Art

I have just returned from, possibly, the best trip of my life – so far. I’ve spent the last 20 days visiting several cities in Bolivia, northern Chile and Argentina, but Buenos Aires stole the prize. I could talk for hours about the beauty of the architecture, the rich history or even the relevance of their past to the Argentine’s every day life, but that would require several posts. Instead, let me show you an insight to all these things found in one art form: Street Art. Continue reading “The Backpacker’s Journal: Buenos Aires Infused Street Art”

Sculpture by the Lakes

One of my last days in Dorset, I ventured out to a hidden gem that was 15 minutes from my house. Why I never came here before puzzled me, but I’m so glad I visited this mystical place. Continue reading “Sculpture by the Lakes”

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑