Eco Design is an approach that incorporates an awareness for the environment, that it is sustainable and ecologically friendly. Many businesses today are adopting a “green” approach and feel they have an increased responsibility to find better solutions for the future of our Earth.
For eco-design to be effective, a life-cycle approach must be adopted. That is, thinking about and adapting the best outcomes for the environment with as little negative effects as possible over the products life.
Designers are responsible for the beginning stages of a product and it is here that they can really shape what impact it will have on its surrounding environment. There are many things for designers to think about in the planning stages. They can control negative environmental properties such as toxic substances and materials and introduce positive attributes such as recyclability and energy efficient machinery.
There are some initial approaches to consider when designing your product.
Reuse – Can you re-use the product, or parts of it, to save it from ending up as landfill?
Repair – Can you repair the product instead of replacing it? This prolongs the life of the product and the need for new materials.
Recycle – Can your product to be recycled at the end of its life cycle?
There are other elements to think of when designing your product. Durability is a major factor and again, lessens the need for new goods, therefore reducing the impact on the environment. There is responsibility at the end of the products life cycle also; as to where it ends up and how safe that is.
There are some fascinating and innovative ideas out there, all you have to do in open your eyes and ears to them.