As consumers, we have a great power. With our purchases, we affect businesses’ product developments. With our voices in elections and social media, we influence markets and politics. But with great power comes great responsibility: in this increasingly complex world, making the right decisions gets harder and harder — especially when it comes to sustainable consumption. In short: good intention, wrong information, long-term problematic purchase decisions. Especially when it comes to recycling.

Paper, plastic, colored plastic, PET, bio-degradable material and the famous “green dot” — the world of recycling is extremely complex and surprisingly unregulated. If you add in the fact that regulations and consumption patterns differ in every country, one thing becomes clear: we need more sensitivity towards the matter — and a few simple guidelines to find our way through this jungle. Thus, we are glad that recycling expert Vivian Loftin will be bringing her three favorite examples for (non-)recyclable packaging to the TEDxFreiburg stage! Her interactive talk will sustainably change your way through the supermarket, in the truest sense of the word. So keep your hands (if you’re coming in person) or your smartphones (if you’re watching online) ready for the quiz: do you really know which packaging is most sustainable?

With her recycling competence and together with her colleagues Anna Zießow and Christian Knobloch, Vivian Loftin is a co-founder of recyda. The award-winning start-up from Freiburg advises businesses internationally about how to make their products more recyclable. You can be sure to hear a lot about them in the coming years — if you haven’t already.

My “silver lining” in the complex recycling world:
that we as consumers have the power to influence product design and politics through our purchase decisions.

Vivian Loftin

My favorite TED/TEDx talk

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