Designers have a crucial role in reducing the impact of the products they design. According to a widely used figure, about 80% of a product’s ecological effects are fixed during the design stage. Therefore, to prepare their goods for inclusion in the circular economy, designers must now consider viable strategies that they may employ to reduce both pre- and post-consumer waste. It is important to examine the methods designers use to reuse waste or catch it in the product design and tactics to ensure that products can be easily disassembled for recycling. Additionally, the strategy must have the ability to lower material prices and have a favorable effect on the bottom line to reduce each design’s environmental impact.
Focus on sustainability
Making sure that our actions today don’t have an adverse effect on the ability of present and future generations to live comfortably on this planet is the essence of sustainability. The good news is that there is a well established set of tools and techniques that a designer or product development decision-maker can use to ensure that a created product is meeting its functional and market needs in ways that significantly reduce negative impacts on people and the planet. This is particularly true for designers who are eager to change for the best and support the shift to an economy that is circular and sustainable from the beginning. These procedures are known as eco-design or sustainable design procedures. Even though they have been around for a while, it is becoming more and more obvious that they are necessary as the push towards a sustainable, circular economy gains momentum.
Design for reuse, repair, recycling and remanufacturing
Standardized design elements make repairing and replacing damaged sections simpler, hence extending the thing’s life. Today’s designers must consider how their creations can be reused in the future. “Repair and reuse” might not always be practical. Designers in these situations must plan for recycling and remanufacturing. Remanufacturing is the process of rebuilding an item to its original specifications so that it can be used again for the same purposes for which it was created. The act of refurbishing something is an alternative to recycling and remanufacturing. When something gets refurbished, its flaws are fixed and put back into use as a usable product.
The ecodesign strategy set for sustainable design
The ecodesign strategy toolbox helps in our ability to envision how something will work and how to improve value while keeping the usefulness, beauty, and practicality of systems, products, and services. Years of progressive ecodesign trial and investigation have culminated in the current formulation of a fresh strategy for how people might meet their needs without destroying the environment. Currently, the focus is on developing a sustainable, regenerative, and circular economy, in which products are made to work with natural systems and keep resources flowing in ways that are good for the economy.
Designing out waste
When creating sustainable products, it’s crucial to take the following into account:
Upcycling is repurposing waste materials or products to produce something more valuable or of greater quality than the original.
Zero waste – Designers can remove the 15% of textile waste that is thought to wind up on the cutting-room floor by utilizing cutting-edge pattern-cutting and construction procedures.
Disassembly – When designing things, designers must consider how easily such products may be disassembled and recycled. This means considering how a garment is made to be functional, long-lasting, and simple to disassemble at the end of its useful life.
Driving the future
Circular practices have, up to now, been led by designers whose branding places sustainability at the forefront. The mass-market designers are anticipated to scale back their efforts in the future. Additionally, aggregators are in an excellent position to start resale and repair programs. Circularity will be the key to opening the door to a more sustainable future as consumers become more involved with environmental issues.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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