Milk bottle tops,lamps and rubbish.

I like Twitter a lot. Its where I find out what is happening in the world around me. Its the first thing I check when I wake up  in the morning and the last thing I look at before I go to sleep  at night. While I'm writing this i'll probably swap tabs to Tweetdeck a couple of times and browse for a few seconds while my train of thought gets itself into order.

I like to post things on Twitter, some of my tweets are pretty sensible,some are pretty silly and random. My tweets tend to be thoughts off the top of my head. Things that aren't long enough for a blog post, often quite disjointed,maybe i'll comment on a new exhibition with interesting use of Audio Visual technology, wonder about the pointlessness of some naff new gadget, ponder on the different types of cheese available in Tesco's or just think 'courgettes why?'.  It gives my brain a safety valve. Having an outlet for all the odd,strange and surreal thoughts mostly keeps my head on the straight and narrow.

Seeing the ebb and flow of tweets in my timeline is always interesting, what gets re-tweeted,what doesn't. Who has favourited what, who has followed who.  Its a great way of seeing what is happening and finding out about news and  events and starting interesting conversations.

On Twitter as well as personal friends  I follow a lot of Museum,Science and technology, arts and creative people and organisations which roughly reflects my interests and work.  Anyway last Sunday I saw a few tweets about this article by Mark Miodownik on why the coloured milk bottle tops are bad for the environment. Several people tweeted links to the article with comments on it and a lot of those tweets were also re-tweeted.

Just about every person who tweeted the link to the article mentioned that it was a well written article explaining the science in a way that was clear and understandable without 'dumbing down' the subject. What was more interesting to me was that every person who re-tweeted the link was a scientist or someone closely associated with Science or Science communication.  It wasn't tweeted by artists,designers or people I know from non-science backgrounds.

Meanwhile at the same time over on all the design sites the item that kept popping up in my timeline during the same period was this lamp that projects light onto the wall in the shape of a lamp shade.  And I couldn't help thinking to myself, its lovely, its  very nice but wouldn't it be much more useful if rather than thinking of clever and witty ways to light up a small corner of a room wouldn't it be better to turn that creativity to working out how to recycle milk bottle tops.

Maybe its the artists and designers who need to spend time looking at serious problems  and less time trying to design new stuff that just ends up creating more rubbish as perfectly good lamps are thrown away. Maybe Scientists and engineers need to get a bit creative when it comes to problem solving.

Maybe the real problem is how people think about design.  Solving problems like recycling milk bottle tops is never going to be featured in the Milan design festival.

Is it people's attitude to design? A Bottle top recycling machine can't be put on living room table as a conversation piece or to show off to your neighbours how much taste or money you have.

Or it might be that we need to think differently about the rubbish we throw away. While writing this I have realised that there is a connection with this subject and an upcoming exhibition at the Science museum. It is called The Rubbish Collection and will display the waste that passes through the Science Museum and what happens to it after it is thrown away. It will be interesting to see what people think of a museum gallery full of rubbish both in its raw and processed form. Will they think differently about how they consume goods, will they ask supermarkets to supply milk bottle with clear bottle tops or will people just carry on buying silly lamps?

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