Eco Design SymbolIt is imperative to search for new design solutions that are environmentally friendly and lead to a reduction in the consumption of materials and energy. The idea of eco-design is the reduction of environmental impacts throughout entire product life cycles by improved product design. It assumes that the effect a product has on the environment should be considered and reduced at all stages along the product life cycle. By life cycle it means special consideration for the environment given from design process of a product to prototype, manufacture, packaging, distribution, assembly, use and disposal. So a meaningful eco product is not just the materials it is made of. Eco-design is a growing responsibility and understanding of our ecological footprint on the planet.

One key question in relation to the environment is:

Why is environment a relevant and of particular interest to companies?

Once it is understood why the environment is significant, businesses are then better able to deal pro-actively with the requirements coming not only from the legislators, but also other business, private customers and the market. In addition, those companies that have a strategic and pro-active approach to eco-design are likely to open the door to creative innovation. Environmental consciousness is linked to creativity and innovations, it has to. Following an eco-design strategy is also about developing innovations to keep products up-to-date and increase their efficiency. Moving towards eco-design products can introduce highly innovative concepts to products.

Eco-design also represents a pro-active approach towards legal compliance. Discovering the business benefits associated with a green product strategy can be the first step towards developing a more pro-active strategy, and thus evolving from a passive, reactive approach.

Manufacturing businesses benefit in different ways for example reduction of material consumption and wastage in production and the manufacture of products with less energy consumption. Minimizing the material throughput per product unit reduces costs and makes the product “greener”.

Generally speaking for manufacturing businesses eco-design can have the following advantages;

  • Less use of raw material means smaller products thereby less packaging too.
  • Less use of process chemicals resulting in less handling costs.
  • Less manufacturing stages reduce costs.
  • Less internal logistics.
  • Less energy consumption.
  • Simple products with less components for assembly reduces production time and costs.
  • Simple products make repair and recycling easier.
  • More output increases labour motivation.

Environmental consciousness is also about creating a positive brand image, being visible on the market. With some consumers, who are conscious for environmental protection and may even realize that green products in most cases are more efficient than others. Besides their often greater efficiency, eco-designed products also may increase customer safety, are more reliable and of better quality.

But all this has to start from somewhere and that is the very beginning of the initial design stages. That is ideally from the drawing board. Today eco-design is the necessity to design a new product. A design process is a process to solve a problem, not to create other one(s).

So what defines a product is eco friendly?

Generally speaking eco-design products can be;

  • flexible
  • reliable
  • durable
  • adaptable
  • modular
  • degradable
  • reusable
  • and simple

Today these eco friendly products represent an ecological necessity all over the word. However due to design simplicity and practicality it may not always be possible to adopt all of the above assumptions in one product but as long as some of them are considered is better than none at all.

Remember it is the thought that matters too.