Glasgow-born Andrew Flynn, a former lead product designer at Dyson, is the founder and lead designer at POTR, a self-watering origami sustainable plant pot designed to help reduce carbon footprints.
POTR pots are made from recycled polypropylene from discarded fishing nets and are locally manufactured in Scotland.
What was your eco ‘Eureka moment’?
Surfing in Indonesia while surrounded by plastic waste was a real eye opener to the problem of sea pollution. Growing up on the west coast of Scotland, I saw the problem of plastic pollution on our shores too.
As a product designer I’ve always felt a sense of responsibility to create things which make a change for good and sea pollution struck me as the perfect problem to try to tackle.
Who is your biggest eco inspiration and why?
I have two. One is the German product designer Dieter Rams, whose ethos was all about creating products which stand the test of time, combating the culture of overconsumption. This is something I try to implement in my work as a product designer every day.
Secondly, it would have to be the legend that is Sir David Attenborough! I was lucky enough to attend a live panel discussion in 2019 for the launch of his latest show, Our Planet.
Sir David spoke with so much passion and knowledge about the environment and the world’s ecosystems. It was truly inspiring.
What’s the biggest sustainable lifestyle change you’ve made yourself?
Cycling here, there and everywhere! I try to limit the use of my car where possible, opting for my bike in the city or public transport for longer distances.
Do you have any easy eco lifestyle hacks you swear by?
Repair where possible. Instead of throwing something away when it breaks I tend to try to repair it first myself, or find someone else who can! I think it helps having a background in product design and engineering as I’m intrigued by how things work.
I think it’s an important step people can take to combat throwaway culture. Whether it’s clothes or an old clock, there is usually a fix to be found!
Do you have a non-eco-friendly habit that’s been hard to give up?
I’ve been trying to cut my meat consumption where possible, but this has definitely been a challenge. Exploring new and interesting vegetarian and vegan recipes has absolutely helped and is one of positive things to have come out of Covid lockdowns.
What eco changes to our lives do you expect to see more of in the next ten years?
More people moving towards vegetarian and vegan diets – I think this transition will continue at pace.
One thing you wish more people knew about when it comes to saving the planet?
Shopping locally and sourcing locally made products and food can make a huge difference to your carbon footprint.
Limiting the mileage travelled by goods isn’t an obvious, conscious choice most people make when buying something new, but it can make a big difference.
This is one of the key reasons we chose to manufacture all of our products here in the UK.
Where should the focus lie when it comes to solving the climate crisis?
I think innovation in the renewable energies sector will drive the way, along with supporting infrastructure that will allow people to harness this energy, like electric cars.
On an individual level, I believe cutting consumption of throwaway goods will help reduce ocean plastic pollution while also driving down demand for single-use items.
Tell us something unusual about your work…
We are transforming old fishing nets into long lasting, self-watering plant pots which can be posted to customers in an envelope.
Waste fishing gear accounts for roughly ten per cent of plastic pollution in the ocean – we’re helping tackle this problem one plant pot at a time.
10% of our profits are being donated back to the ocean clean up charity Ghost Diving UK to enhance our circular business model, which is something we’re really excited about.
In the future we hope to gain B Corp certification and ultimately become a carbon positive company that invests in projects which support our environment.
Check out Andrew’s work at the POTR website.
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