Imperial College London

Dr Weston Baxter

Faculty of EngineeringDyson School of Design Engineering




+44 (0)20 7594 6894weston.baxter Website




10-12 Prince's GardensSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

11 results found

Baxter W, Aurisicchio M, Childs PRN, Tear Here: the Impact of Object Transformations on Proper Disposal, IAPRI 20th World Conference on Packaging

Efforts promoting proper disposal of packaging generally focus on infrastructure and messaging. Significantly less attention has been given to how the attributes of packaging can be used to change disposal behaviour. This research shows how changes in packaging attributes (e.g. alterations in shape, colour, or size) influence two disposal behaviours: recycling and littering. Specifically, we use an implicit association test to measure the subconscious tendency to categorize altered objects as trash rather than recycling. The results indicate that 82% or respondents showed at least a slight effect and 53% showed a strong effect towards associating altered objects with waste. Next, we evaluate object transformations on littering behaviour through an observational field study. Observations (N = 2823) indicated that littering is influenced by deformed, torn, disassembled, and partially full packaging. No significant effect was found with regard to packaging that is wet, sticky, has undergone colour changes or that is has remains (e.g. sauce) on it. These findings suggest that the (re)design of packaging can significantly influence proper disposal. Based on this, packaging can be (re)designed in two ways. First, many types of packaging have scripted alterations such as the iconic ‘tear here’ indicator. These can be changed to preserve properties associated with recyclables and non-littering. Second, packaging can be designed so that there are fewer alterations during use. This work can also help identify inherent attributes that encourage proper disposal.


Baxter W, Aurisicchio M, Mugge R, Childs Pet al., Decontaminating experiences with circular offerings, Product Lifetimes and The Environment (PLATE) 2017


Baxter W, Aurisicchio M, Mugge R, Childs PRNet al., Positive and negative contamination in user interactions, ICED17: 21st International Conference on Engineering Design, Publisher: Design Society

The purpose of this paper is to present contaminated interaction as a design construct. Interactions with an object can be altered,positively, neutrallyor negatively,due to some prior use. In such cases, the interaction departs from the designed condition and is said to be contaminated. This is particularly significant as objects, physical or non-physical, have multiple uses or are shared amongst users. We propose an ontological model of contaminated interaction based on a review of literature and an analysis of user experiences. The model outlines the process of contaminated interaction including the drivers and outcomes. In a negative context, contamination can lead to consumers misusing, negatively experiencing, or avoiding the object altogether. Positive contamination sees the opposite effect in which usability can increase, users report more positive experiences and users seek out or cherish the object. Together, this model presents an approach to understanding and addressing contamination in the design process to enable the creation and maintenance of meaningful experiences.


Bahrudin F, Aurisicchio MARCO, Baxter WESTON, 2017, Sustainable materials in design projects, EKSIG 2017, Publisher: TU Delft Open

New types of sustainable materials are introduced in our markets every year to minimise the environmental impact of products. The search for more environmentally benign materials is crucial in reducing the depletion of non-renewable material resources. Recent literature indicates that there is a growing interest and rapid technological progression from various industry stakeholders on this matter. Nevertheless, the sustainability issues pursued by designers and other material developers are still ambiguous. The overall aim of this research is to develop new understanding of the sustainable materials being developed and applied in product design. Seventy-two material-centred design projects are analysed in terms of resource renewability and resource origin. The data obtained are further classified according to the material group and products produced with such materials. Renewable materials make up half of the materials used. Moreover, waste materials comprise up to half of the materials used. Three materials groups were found to be more frequently used, namely natural composites, synthetic polymers and organic materials. Most of these materials are being made into furniture, household objects and clothing and accessories. Within the natural composites and organic materials, various extraordinary materials were used, reflecting the dynamicity of designers’ work and experimentation with materials. As for synthetic polymers, recycled plastics are the main materials used and this is not surprising given their abundance in the environment. In general, the application of sustainable materials seems to be at its infancy but explorations are vibrant and progressive. The impact of these materials in the mainstream market is unknown and other sustainability factors need further evaluation. As such, design as a discipline is yet to facilitate the uptake of these materials.


Baxter W, Aurisicchio M, Childs P, 2017, Contaminated Interaction Another Barrier to Circular Material Flows, JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL ECOLOGY, Vol: 21, Pages: 507-516, ISSN: 1088-1980


Baxter WL, childs PRN, 2017, Designing Circular Possessions, The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Product Design, Editors: Chapman

The notion of possession is one of the most fundamental concepts that guide everyday behaviour. Paradoxically, it is often poorly understood. This is particularly true in a circular context where consumer interactions with possessions are being altered and in some cases redefined. Thus, an understanding of possession serves as a useful, if not necessary, prerequisite to designing circular products, services and systems. This chapter explores the idea of possession: what it is, how an object becomes one and why it is important for the circular economy. Possession is understood through a human-centred lens that considers the consumer’s state of mind towards and relationship with an object. A state of possessiveness can be attained for material or immaterial objects and for objects that may or may not legally belong to the person. The discussion is presented within a design framework that discusses the motives and routes that lead to the state of possession. This framework is substantiated by looking at affordance principles and paths associated with possession. Each section includes a theoretical discussion as well as practical examples and insights that can be incorporated into the product design process itself. This chapter aids in understanding interactions relevant to the circular economy such as the maintenance and care that comes with object attachment and adoption of access-based consumption models. Understanding and designing for these desired interactions should be the first priority of designers followed by an establishment of laws, regulations and policies to support them.


Baxter W, Yang X, Aurisicchio M, Childs PRNet al., 2016, Exploring a human-centred design of possessions, 12th Biennial NordDesign Conference on Highlighting the Nordic Approach, Publisher: DESIGN SOC, Pages: 53-62


Baxter WL, Aurisicchio M, Childs PRN, 2016, Materials, use and contaminated interaction, MATERIALS & DESIGN, Vol: 90, Pages: 1218-1227, ISSN: 0264-1275


Baxter W, Childs PRN, Aurisicchio M, 2015, Using psychological ownership to guide strategies for slower consumption, Product Lifetimes And The Environment (PLATE), Publisher: Nottingham Trent University


Baxter WL, Aurisicchio M, Childs PRN, 2015, A psychological ownership approach to designing object attachment, JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING DESIGN, Vol: 26, Pages: 140-156, ISSN: 0954-4828


Bowen LA, Baxter WL, Magleby SP, Howell LLet al., 2014, A position analysis of coupled spherical mechanisms found in action origami, Mechanism and Machine Theory, Vol: 77, Pages: 13-24, ISSN: 0094-114X


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