By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager
Meet Carter Zufelt, the Brain Behind Müll
Carter Zufelt is turning heads and garnering media attention with his latest creation Müll. With simple and elegant designs he's putting a new spin on everyday objects like stools, cubes, and organizers. But perhaps most impressive is the way he's doing it.
After years of trial and error Carter has created a way to change trash (like plastic bags) into useful objects. The impact this could have on the future of product design has yet to be seen, but the future looks bright—very bright. That's why this week we sat down with Carter and got to know a little bit more about what makes him tick, the creation process, and what he sees going forward.
How did you come up with the process of converting trash into art?
It began a couple years ago when I started my Senior Project in industrial design. During the research phase I discovered the excessive amount of plastic trash in the environment, so I set out to do something about it. It started with collecting trash on the streets and experimenting with it. I failed so many times. There were many late nights and lots of frustration. Finally I did something that worked and continued to refine it until I had an end result that I was happy with.
Do you have any design influences?
Yes, of course. I've always been inspired by Dieter Rams. His designs are clean and always functional. I love his "less but better" philosophy. Also, Benjamin Hubert. He explores materials and innovates like crazy. You can tell he enjoys what he does, his designs illustrate that perfectly.
What kind of reaction are you seeing from people since the announcement of your product?
I've received a lot of positive feedback from people. Everyone seems to be really excited about the process and endless possibilities. Random people are emailing me just to tell me that they appreciate the work I'm doing and innovation I'm creating. One little girl heard of the project and started running around her house collecting plastic to donate. It's fun to feel people's excitement, it's really cool to be apart of.
How do you avoid any dangers to you during the conversion process? i.e. Carbon monoxide, gases, toxics etc.?
HDPE is relatively safe to work with if it is prepped and handled appropriately. If it is melted at or below a certain temperature then it wont release toxins like other plastic. So, the trick is knowing the plastic you are using, how to get it ready to melt, and then melting appropriately. I take extra precaution though and work in a well ventilated room with an air respirator. It's probably overkill, but I like to be on the safe side.
In just a few days you’ve been able to raise over $12,000 dollars. What advice would you give to others trying to crowd fund their projects?
Given that this is my first crowd funded project, I don't know if I'm the best person to give advise. But I'll give it a shot. I'd say that the first thing is to have a neat idea; something new and innovative that will catch people's eye and peak their interest. You don't have to invent a new tool, maybe just figure out a way to refine it. Another huge part is trying to get press coverage. I spent many many hours researching companies and writing those companies who I thought might be interested in covering my story. It takes a lot of time, so make sure to plan for that. Also, just be yourself. Let your personality shine through your video, your pictures, your graphic design, everything. In essence people aren't just backing your product, they're backing you.
If Mull takes off, where would you like to see it go in the future?
The idea behind Mull is to start a movement and help others see the need for recycling. I enjoy the business side of things, but I like design more, so I'd be thrilled to have a business partner who has the resources and contacts to push this idea to it's limits. The possibilities of this process really are endless.
You can support Müll by contributing/sharing their Kickstarter project here.