Carnegie Mellon University School of Design

Humans are using 173% of the resources that Earth produces in a year. A US adult contributes about 16MT of Carbon Dioxide per year which is about 4 times the world’s average. At this rate, we would need about 5 Earths to sustain current life but we only got one. Using renewable energy & consuming green products are good strategies, but they are not enough. 60% of global emissions are from things we constantly buy & own. We need to reduce this consumption. But with the increasing population, we can’t directly cut it down. We need to share—we need to shift from consumerism to sharing economy, from ownership to rentals, and from linear to a circular economy.  But this shift is hard because we live in a worldview of ownership where owning is the status quo, where people gain feelings of significance from
buying & owning. And sustainability is associated with a compromise – either expensive or inconvenient. We need a point of intervention that allows behavior change and a solution that makes sustainable behavior an easier & viable option.

In this project, we focused on first-time parents as an opportunity for change and intervention. Welcoming a baby into the family, while very meaningful, is also challenging, expensive, and one of the most wasteful phases of life. A baby in the US contributes about 58.6MT of CO2 per year which is more than 3.5 times an average US adult. Also, research suggests life transition phases are the most impactful periods for behavior change, and becoming new parents is considered one of the most significant ones.

To address this intervention point and make sustainable behavior an easier and more viable option. our proposed solution is Orbit: an app-based service that promotes sustainability through the rental and sharing economy amongst new parents. Orbit is a new way of parenting that is light on the pocket, light
on the planet, and heavy on love. It helps parents with the right products for the right time at a fraction of the price while being eco-friendly. A perfect combination of reusable rentals and single-use products from sustainable brands is curated and delivered monthly, personalized to the baby’s age and style while undergoing certified safety & clean checks every time. When the child outgrows them, put them back and Orbit picks them up at the next box delivery.

Saving time and money from constantly buying short-lived stuff and sharing what would otherwise go to a landfill with another family to create new memories while sharing your own. With Orbit, our vision is to move from excessive consumerism toward a circular sharing economy, as a first step toward lowering household carbon emissions. We hope this will also inspire change for parents in other phases of life and sow the seeds for a better world for future generations. Orbit: an easier, cheaper, and greener way of parenting for an improved way of life.

Key Team Members

Weijie Wang,, Youngryun Cho,
Lokesh Fulfagar,, Laura Pedrosa