Waste. It’s what we see when we look at our factories and see what’s left over. But waste is only waste because we’ve defined it that way. It’s really just something we haven’t figured out what to do with yet.
Waste doesn’t exist in nature — everything is an input for another organism. What if we took cues from nature and saw waste as a raw material for a new process or product? That’s what we’re trying to do with the Kohler Waste Lab. We’re taking industrial waste and creating actual products, like tiles and buttons.
Kohler industrial designer Monty Stauffer was invited to join the Waste Lab team in the summer of 2017. “I was told, ‘We want you to make something out of something else and we don’t know what that something is yet,’ and I thought, ‘Cool!’” Monty and his team are using their collective skills and knowledge to sort and test waste materials like foundry dust, pottery cull and spilled enamel powder, for use in completely new products.