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Red Dot Award 2023: 15 impressive sustainable designs

From materials to innovative packaging solutions, from appliances to aviation technology, these designs demonstrate brilliance and creative commitment to a better, eco-conscious future.

Red Dot Award 2023: 15 impressive sustainable designs

In this year’s Red Dot Award for Design Concept, nearly 4,000 entries from 54 nations vied for recognition. After a rigorous evaluation process, the esteemed jury honoured 188 designs with Red Dot and an additional 23 received the coveted Red Dot: Best of the Best accolades. Notably, a single design stood out, clinching the prestigious Red Dot: Luminary. Clearly, this year’s submissions showcased a wealth of exceptional designs, many of which embraced sustainability as a core principle. sustainability as demonstrated by the innovative approaches taken by designers and brands across the globe. Here, we highlight 15 remarkable sustainable designs that deserve special recognition.

1 Kid’s Service Design Toolkit for Saving the Earth 

By Choi Seolyung, Hyun Eunryung, Mun Juyeong (South Korea)
Red Dot: Best of the Best

This toolkit educates children about carbon emissions and inspires creative thinking to find environmental solutions. It guides them through phases, including learning daily habits to reduce their carbon footprint, understanding emotions related to environmental issues, brainstorming ideas using the ‘How Might We’ technique, and sharing and improving solutions through collaboration. This toolkit fosters environmental awareness and encourages young service designers to take action for a sustainable future.

2 Papembood®

By Studio Pagni Baldi (Italy)
Red Dot: Best of the Best

Red Dot 2023 Papembood sustainable design

Papembood® is an eco-friendly and sustainable multilayer panel made of recycled cardboard pulp and thinly-cut bamboo wood. It offers both aesthetics and strength, using overproduced cardboard from e-commerce and fast-growing bamboo. The material offers good performance, recycling capabilities and customisation in colours, thickness and surface finish. 

3 Geneverse SolarGenerator S1 

By Shenzhen Hello Tech Energy Co. (China)
Red Dot: Best of the Best

Geneverse SolarGenerator S1 sustainable design

Geneverse SolarGenerator S1 is a modular photovoltaic sunshade that can be tailored to meet a family’s energy needs. It comprises 200w double-sided solar modules that generate electricity and store it in a home energy storage system. The design includes a self-circulating lighting system, durable construction, and easy installation, reducing household energy costs.

4 Tetrix Roof Tiles

By Tetrix (Poland)
Red Dot: Best of the Best

Tetris Rook Tiles sustainable design

Tetrix Roof Tiles, made from recycled plastic composite, offer a lightweight, durable, and sustainable roofing option. They are frost-proof, waterproof, fungi-resistant, UV-resistant, and provide good insulation. These virtually unbreakable tiles are suitable for photovoltaic systems, replacing hazardous asbestos roofs while being easier to handle during installation. They are manufactured using a modular stamp mould process, optimising material usage and come in various designs to suit different architectural preferences.

5 Zerohub

By Lee Jae In from Hongik University (South Korea)
Red Dot

Red Dot 2023 Zerohub sustainable design

Zerohub is an eco-friendly car camping site powered by hydrogen energy, promoting a closer connection to nature while purifying the environment. It utilises a generator to convert lake water into green hydrogen energy. Zerohub features ‘Petal’ units for private camping spaces and ‘Seed’ units for various activities, emitting clean oxygen and water as a by-product, making it self-sustaining and environmentally friendly.

6 Coffeebeing

By Tangshan Hongfeng Industrial Design Co., Ltd. (China)
Red Dot

Red Dot 2023 Coffeebeing sustainable design

Coffeebeing introduces a novel coffee shop concept focused on recycling used coffee grounds and materials from the cafe to create utensils and other necessary objects for its operations, forming a closed-loop coffee waste recycling system. These repurposed materials offer unique textures and properties, like a cup series combining coffee waste with traditional Chinese craft lacquer. Customers not only support their favourite coffee shop but also participate in this innovative recycling process.

7 Bud Eco-Friendly Urn

By Shenzhen Flying Bird Is Fish Creative Design Co., Ltd. (China)
Red Dot

Red Dot 2023 Bud Eco-Friendly Urn

This paper cremation urn offers a sustainable option for a final resting place. Designed like a hopeful bud or a baby swaddle, it decomposes quickly, enriching the soil and promoting new plant growth. Customisable with various eco-friendly materials, it provides comfort and nostalgia for users of all ages.

8 PulpaTronics

By Barna Soma Biro (Hungary), Chen Jingyan (China), Rui Ma (United States), Chloe So (Hong Kong)
Red Dot

PulpaTronics sustainable design

PulpaTronics pioneers fully recyclable paper RFID tags, eliminating metal mining and reducing manufacturing complexity. Using innovative laser technology, conductive circuits are directly applied to paper, storing encoded information in geometric patterns and negating the need for metal antennas and silicon chips. This approach reduces carbon emissions by 70 per cent, cuts costs in half, and streamlines manufacturing, redefining RFID standards for a sustainable future.

9 Toothsticks

By Chen Yang, Lyu Muzhi, Jiang Fang (China)
Red Dot

Toothsticks are an innovative combination of chopsticks and toothpicks, designed to save resources, improve user experience, and reduce waste in the disposable tableware industry. By integrating a toothpick into one end of a chopstick, it optimizes raw material usage and aligns with environmental conservation, encouraging users to value every piece of wood.

10 Tea Seedling Pots

By National Taipei University of Education (Taiwan)
Red Dot

Tea Seedling Pots sustainable design

Made from tea branches to hold tea seedlings, these containers address the environmental issue of plastic seedling bags waste. They feature a double-layer structure with soil and fertiliser to protect roots before transplanting, enhancing seedling survival rates. These pots decompose in the soil, reducing environmental impact, encouraging mechanised transplantation, and fostering water conservation and root growth, applicable beyond tea crops.

11 Nebula Project – Modified Atmosphere Packaging

By SAES (Italy)
Red Dot

Red Dot 2023 Nebula Project – Modified Atmosphere Packaging

This innovative food preservation device utilises miniaturised Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) technology to combat food waste and its environmental impact.. It features a cage-like structure, pressure and gas sensors for real-time monitoring, and various gas mixtures tailored to food categories. Its rigid containers are eco-friendly and lightweight, effectively preserving food while reducing plastic waste.

12 Food Waste Recycling Centre

By Gree Electric Appliances, Inc. Of Zhuhai (China)
Red Dot

An innovative solution for food waste disposal, offering functions like garbage crushing, sterilisation, odour removal, composting, and crop cultivation. It aims to establish an ecological food waste recycling system starting at home. This approach reduces the environmental burden of waste disposal, minimises costs, and promotes a green and healthy lifestyle. Users can easily deposit kitchen waste, and the system automatically processes it, resulting in nutrient-rich compost for plant cultivation. The modular design allows for easy replacement and supplementation of components.

13 Falcon Solar

By Laszlo Nemeth (Hungary)
Red Dot

Red Dot 2023 Falcon Solar

Falcon Solar is a solar-powered aircraft concept, distinguished by its large wing area for emissions-free flight. Inspired by bird wings, the design maximises lift and integrates solar panels on the fuselage, minimising the need for heavy batteries. This innovative design aims to steer aviation towards sustainable, solar-powered manned flight with increased efficiency.

14 Less Plastic Toothbrush

By LG Household & Health Care (South Korea)
Red Dot

The Less Plastic Toothbrush aims to reduce plastic waste from disposable toothbrushes. It features a ‘cut’ handle that decreases plastic usage by 20 per cent and doubles as a clip for upright storage. The toothbrush packaging uses eco-friendly molded pulp trays and clear sealing film, ensuring complete biodegradability and an environmentally friendly design.

15 Chrysanthemum Stalk Fiber Packaging

By Amway (Shanghai) Technology Development Co. Ltd. (China)
Red Dot

Amway’s Nutrilite Drink Powder packaging is made using chrysanthemum stalk fibres, reflecting the brand’s commitment to health and traditional Chinese herbal medicine. The package design incorporates chrysanthemum-inspired textures and includes plantable chrysanthemum seeds for a sustainable touch. It surpasses plastic and pulp alternatives, and boasts certifications for biodegradability and sustainability.

The winning designs are on showcase at Red Dot Design Museum Singapore.

Images courtesy of Red Dot

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