Our Origins

The idea of community-powered zero waste design comes from American Zero Waste thinker, Paul Connett, and the community of Capannori, Italy, which is working with Lavazza to redesign its coffee capsules.  Lots of people have helped the idea take root in the UK, but the bins of a small community in Wales acted as a catalyst.

Inspiration from Italy  

A community project in Capannori, Italy led by primary school teacher, Rossanno Ercolini, showed the potential of community involvement in design. This enterprising group had found Lavazza coffee capsules in their residual waste. They worked out that 12,000 tonnes of capsules went to landfill a year and decided to take the issue back to the company.  Good move, because Lavazza took them seriously and invited them to collaborate in developing a solution about to launch a pilot for their new design.

Community Responsibility to Drive Industrial Responsibility

Paul Connett leading thinker on Zero Waste champions the need for communities to take responsibility for their own waste and to make sure that there is a strong feedback loop between what ends up in our landfills and incinerators and what we manufacture.   If it can’t be recycled, composted or reused at the end of its life, a product needs to be redesigned.

Meet the Museum of Bad Design Presteigne and Norton

Residents novel uses for unrecylable packaging

The community of Presteigne and Norton have some of the slimmest bins in the country and were frustrated about stuff that was still left in their bins because of the way it had been designed. They’ve been working towards Zero Waste for the last three years as part of a Welsh Government pilot managed by Cwm Harry and recycle 75% of their waste.    They set up the  Museum of Bad Design to research and campaign for better design.  Meet some of its members.


Carol Camplin started questioning why there was so much left in her bin after her weekly shop and got the whole idea of the Museum going by challenging retailers about the amount of packaging on their products.

Terry McAlinden local fixpert can repair lots of stuff that most of us would think was just broken. When we went to see the waste electronics put out for recycling in Presteigne he found that most of it was repairable,  if only more of us knew how and manufacturers made it easier.

Bea Thompson joined the Museum to find out why stuff is designed with waste built in, from  non-recyclable wrapping on teabag to plastic holders on inhalers that you just don’t need every time.

Like the rest of the community, Gordon Ames has such slim bins he really really notices what has to be thrown away.  A typical home in the UK sends 500 kg  of rubbish away a year.  In Presteigne and Norton, the average is 180 kg.  Even for Presteigne, Gordon has slim bins and he throw less than 10 kg away a year. He wonders why we make packaging like crisps out of materials that you can’t recycle.

Meanwhile Tom Perceval uses waste for making art –  including the fantastic crisp packet hat that won the Museum’s competition to find a useful use for laminated foil packing.

and these are just a few, we know there are many more inspirational and positive examples out there of people caring and taking positive action to prevent, reduce and design out waste.