Stepping into a Better Future with Sustainable Product Design

If you’ve been paying attention, you probably know just how big of a problem pollution is at the moment. Poisoning the air, water, and soil we rely on to survive is definitely not a good idea and we’re all supposed to come up with ways to contribute to saving the planet. One of the best ways to reduce our carbon footprint is to have businesses that create greener products. But how exactly can we step into a better future with sustainable product design? Read on to find out.

Optimizing the Product Lifecycle

One of the best ways to make a product green is to optimize its lifecycle when designing it. There are four stages in every product’s lifecycle – manufacturing, transportation, use, and disposal. No matter in which of these four stages you manage to identify opportunities for minimizing waste or saving energy, taking them is a must. Reflect on each stage of your product’s lifecycle and work on improving the biggest negatives you recognize. In case you get stuck, just start asking yourself questions such as – “How much energy does the product consume?” or “Will it biodegrade quickly?”

Designed for Disassembly

This one is pretty straightforward but it’s extremely important for businesses to acknowledge it. No matter what kind of products your company sells, it’s always a good idea to design a product that can easily be stripped of its components that’ll later be used elsewhere. Fail to do this and not a single part of your product will live that second or third life you’re aiming at. Of course, designing a product that can have its components removed and used elsewhere isn’t easy. Still, putting some extra effort into it is a great idea as it gives you a chance to contribute to saving the environment.

Green Marketing

Once your product is designed, it’s time to start promoting it. While you can’t do without marketing, there’s no reason to harm the planet while doing so. There are traditional marketing channels that still do the trick but have a negative impact on the planet and moving away from them is a must. For example, why print out flyers when you can create infographics, share them on your social media pages, and avoid harming a single tree in the process? It’s good to know that now there are plenty of design experts who can help you develop awesome infographics for your campaign.

Cradle to Cradle

Traditionally, products are designed to have a finite end to their life. This means most products end up in a landfill as soon as we no longer have any use of them. Reducing the number of garbage that ends up in a landfill is extremely important and taking the “Cradle to Cradle” approach is an effective way to do it. Basically, all you need to do is take some time when designing your product and think about how it can be reused when its original lifetime ends. If the product cannot be reused, there’s always a chance it can be used as “fuel” for producing something else. As a new bachelor of arts degree in product design teaches it students, the discipline of design can be defined as ‘pervasive intelligence’ inviting us to find new solutions and new meanings and educating people to generate value for the world around them.

Prioritizing Energy Efficiency

Sometimes, it’s not all about the design of your product but the way you bring it to life. It’s always recommended to look for ways to create your product using as little energy as possible. A foolproof way to do this is to invest in solar panels for your business. All you need to do is have these things installed on your roof and you can start collecting energy from the sun. Combine panels with a solar battery and you might even be able to create products with only energy harnessed from sunlight.

Lengthening the Product Lifespan

Designing a product that lasts is extremely underrated. It may take some extra time and effort to design a product that lasts longer but if you do it, not only will your customers have to spend less money long-term but you’ll also contribute to saving the planet. Unfortunately, some businesses see obsolescence as a great profit strategy as it makes their customers come back for more. It’s important to ditch this type of thinking and focus on what matters for our society – preserving the environment. With that said, make sure you keep looking for ways to design improved products that last longer.

As you can see, there are a number of ways companies can create products that have minimal impact on our planet. No matter what your business does, it’s important to have this in mind and constantly look for ways you can make the difference. The best part of it is that by doing so, not only do you help the environment but you also encourage other individuals and businesses to join the fight against pollution and global warming.

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Jennifer Hahn Masterson is a senior business strategist, holding an MA degree in business communication. She is always doing her best to help her clients find their place in the ever so competitive business arena, insisting on long-term sustainability rather than on some questionable get-rich-fast scheme. You can check her out on LinkedIn.

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