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Sophie Thomas

Product, Industrial & Packaging DesignGraphic Design, Visual Communication

Sophie has been a campaigner and leader in sustainable and circular design for nearly 30 years. Her passion for garbology (exploring human behaviours by digging in the rubbish) and belief that waste is a design flaw started early and still drives her curiosity, and she is often found peering into waste bins.


Her design studio, Thomas.Matthews, was an early pioneer in creating exhibitions, packaging, and signage using waste and sustainable materials from 1997. She is the only designer in the UK to be honoured as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Waste Management.


In 2012, Sophie set up and ran The Great Recovery project with the RSA and InnovateUK, taking over 1,000 designers to waste sites to see where their products die and to rethink design using circular principles. Since then, she has worked with the industry to look at how everything - from oil rigs, sofas, shoes, and mobile phones - can be designed for reuse and recovery. She works with businesses to radically reconsider material use through design research and innovation.


In 2022, she co-founded the climate-tech venture studio etsaW, which supports and builds innovation in the transformation of waste streams into new materials and helps set up new businesses that exploit their use.

Sophie Thomas