The current effects of climate change are jolting people awake and pushing them to lead a more conscious and responsible lifestyle to ensure the future is bright, not bleak, for generations to come. One of the ways many consumers are changing their ways is to turn to brands that are creating responsible products that do not cause more harm to the environment.
For this reason, as well as a sense of responsibility to be a sustainable company, business owners must opt for eco-friendly product designs. The most proficient product designers on the market know how important sustainability is for everyone, and they have a list of criteria to ensure they hit each aspect of the sustainability chain.
Clarify the environmental impact of the product
Determining the environmental impact of the product’s design is a critical step to ensure the damage on the planet is minimal or, even better, carbon neutral. The product’s design, from its lifespan, efficiency, recyclability and composition, has a substantial say in how it will affect the ecological system. Sustainable product designers will determine the impact of the product’s life cycle to ensure minimal effects on the planet.
Four main criteria will determine the environmental impact. The CO2 emissions measure the climate impact through the value chain. The following criteria are the ecosystem changes, where the product designers will study how the product will affect freshwater, oceans and land through eutrophication and deforestation.
Natural resource usage will help them understand the required materials and how natural sources, such as water usage, will be depleted. Finally, they will study the level of chemicals and harmful gases released in the atmosphere that will cause pollution. Once they have the information, product designers will use KPIs to track and align with the company’s sustainability goals.
The Top Tips To Creating Sustainable Product Designs
- Minimising the amount of material used
Using less material is a crucial design option that will result in a sustainable product. Eco-conscious product designers can present products using less material for the design and packaging while still loading the product with excellent functionality. Using software instead of analogue features is another option, as it will decrease the product’s weight. At the same time, they can add features without including more material or weight.
- Opting for sustainable material
Plastic and other tried and tested materials are the obvious choice for manufacturers, but not if you care for the planet. Eco-conscious product designers will choose materials that are functional but also cause minimal impact on the planet. Some of the most noteworthy options include lightweight, biodegradable, recyclable, or recycled materials. The weight of the material must play a vital role in the decision process because the lighter a product is, the less energy it will cost the planet over its lifetime.
- Considering the lifespan of the product
Undoubtedly, throw-away culture has significantly contributed to climate change issues. Although, as consumers, we are responsible for utilising products through to their end life, business owners must also provide products with a long lifespan. The adage “they don’t make them like they used to” could not be more relevant when looking at the flimsy products on the market.
Eco-conscious product designers know that the planet cannot afford to house more flimsy products because they will have a short life span. Besides choosing the best materials and adopting top design principles, product designers develop products that can be repaired, upgraded, and welcome adaptations. Although product longevity requires more time, which means a longer timespan to launch new products and reduced revenues, the benefits are ample. Mainly, the quality of such products ensures customer loyalty and secures the brand’s reputation.
The circularity of the product is another point to keep in mind. When the product’s lifespan ends, sustainable product designers can ensure that the product is remanufactured into another one. Not only does this reduce energy consumption, but it reduces the amount of waste and carbon emissions.
- Creating an efficient product
An efficient product will require fewer material resources and less energy. As a result, carbon footprint is reduced during use, which is what every eco-conscious customer wants to hear. Minimising the high emissions levels is critical at this point in the world, and with an efficient product design, you can do just this.
Although you can still find resistance to change for the better to ensure care for our planet, millions worldwide want to do their part to minimise the detrimental effects of climate change. As a product designer, you can do your part in ensuring the safety of our planet by creating responsible and sustainable product designs that are functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Adopting these sustainable practices requires research, commitment, and teamwork with different groups in the manufacturing process, but it is possible. More and more award-winning product designers are proving that it is possible to create sleek and functional designs that also respect the planet.
Having an eco-statement on your website and sticking to your principles when communicating with clients is how to establish yourself as a sustainable product designer. Your clients may need to be educated and reassured, but with extensive knowledge of sustainable practices, you can guide them to ensure their products are kind to the planet.