Designed to use waste by-products

Back to ‘Sustainable design database’

Dynamic lifter packaging

Dynamic lifter packaging
Packaging, ‘Dynamic Lifter Concentrated Organic Fertiliser’, woven polypropylene, maker unknown, used by Dynamic Lifter Pty Ltd, New South Wales, Australia, 1992.

Dynamic lifter packaging

Dynamic Lifter’s main ingredient is chicken poo, a major waste product of the poultry industry. It is one of the world’s most popular garden fertilisers and is used in both urban and rural environments.

The development of the Dynamic Lifter technology solved the major environmental problem posed by waste from chicken farms around the world.

See this object in our Collection


Paper, embossed
Paper (12 sheets), embossed, cotton fibre, made by Euraba Paper Company, Boggabilla, New South Wales, Australia, 2007.

Euraba paper utilises the cotton fibre offcuts from clothing manufacturers that would otherwise be bound for land-fill. The off cuts are collected, recycled, and put through the papermaking process. The company is run by local women who started by experimenting with materials like scotch thistle and sunflower stalks in their backyard paper mill. The fibres from both the river and surrounding land give the paper locality, identity and tradition, and are an excellent example of sustainable design.

See this object in our Collection


Packaged yeast extract, ‘Vegemite’, glass / plastic / paper, made by Kraft Foods Limited, Australia, 1991.

Australia’s most iconic sandwich spread is a great example of how waste from one industry can form perfectly good raw materials for another one.

The recipe for Vegemite is based on using residual spent brewers yeast, mixed with vegetables and salt. Some of Australia’s largest brewing companies provide the yeast used in the spread.

This sustainable design practice means that as long as beer is being produced, there is no end to the production of Vegemite.

See this object in our Collection

Grand piano

Grand piano
Grand piano, with cover, Huon pine/ King William pine/ casuarina/ metal, Stuart & Sons, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, 1998-1999.

The Huon pine used on Stuart pianos has been sourced from Tasmanian timber that had been salvaged from the forest floor as opposed to newly milled timber.

Huon pine trees are a protected species and only a limited number of millers are granted licences by the Tasmanian government to salvage the timber.

Some of the wood used has also been sourced from logs snagged in rivers, having floated downstream after being felled. This sustainable practice makes sure the creation of new pianos does not have a negative effect on the environment.

See this object in our Collection

The Powerhouse Museum has collected examples of design for more than 130 years. This database shows how some items in its collection meet one or more criteria for design for the environment.

Sustainable design database topics:

Designed for easy reuse
Designed for energy efficiency
Designed for service substitution
Designed to be degradable
Designed to last
Designed to minimise packaging
Designed to use recycled materials
Designed to use renewable resources
Designed to use waste by-products



On now until 30 June 2020

EcoLogic explores one of the world’s hottest topics today: climate change. Discover the science behind global warming, learn what we can do to slow it down and what we can do to adapt to the changes already taking place.