Image for Young, gifted and green. The ‘green grads’ designing the future

Young, gifted and green. The ‘green grads’ designing the future

A project is giving a timely boost to talented, eco-minded design graduates

A project is giving a timely boost to talented, eco-minded design graduates

As a warm glow filters through, the tropical orange and pink hues of these hanging blinds suggest a confident, high-end design aesthetic. They’re also made from old Sainsbury’s carrier bags.

Their designer, Alice Coomber, who graduated from the University of Brighton last year with a BA in 3D design and craft, wove them from waste polyethylene to raise awareness of the long-term environmental impact of microplastics.

“It’s often the tiniest particles that have the power to create problematic issues of an overwhelming scale,” she told Positive News.

Get the Positive News weekly email Uplift your inbox every Saturday morning with our newsletter. Positive News editors select the week’s top stories of progress, bringing you the essential briefing about what's going right in the world. Sign up

Coomber is one of the 150 or so talented graduates of UK universities to be featured on the Green Grads platform. Now in its third year, it showcases graduates whose final projects tackle eco-issues such as sustainability, circular production, waste and pollution, biophilia and biodiversity. Other projects so far have included a new material from waste denim, and torches and lights from discarded vapes.

The not-for-profit project was founded by design writer Barbara Chandler in 2021, being quickly joined in running it by exhibition director Michael Czerwinski. Graduates come from a wide range of disciplines, including art, engineering, furniture design, textiles, ceramics, glass, fashion, illustration and architecture.

Chandler has financed the project via a clutch of forward-thinking industry sponsors. And her aim? To identify, promote and enable a new generation of UK eco-activists, linking them with manufacturers, design practices, shops, galleries and with the public. The main route is via exhibitions: shows so far have taken place during London Design Festivals and at Grand Designs Live, and at the GreenGrads Hub in the Heal’s department store in London.

Coomber reported feeling a growing sense of excitement after the Heal’s exhibition “from conversations I had with the other exhibitors and visitors who shared our interest in preserving the planet”.

Main image: Barbara Chandler / @sunnygran

Support solutions in 2024

Our small, dedicated team is passionate about building a better alternative to the negative news media. And there’s never been a greater urgency to our mission.

But to invest in producing all the solutions journalism that the world is longing for, we need funding. And because we work in your interests – not those of a wealthy media mogul or corporate owner – we’re asking readers like you to get behind our team, by making a regular contribution as a Positive News supporter.

Give once from just £1, or join 1,400+ others who contribute an average of £3 or more per month.

Join our community today, and together, we’ll change the news for good.

Support Positive News

Related articles

Read it and don’t weep.

Headlines about what’s going right in the world are now being shared with millions of people through digital screens on high streets and in shopping centres all around the UK.