Increasingly, over the past couple of years, companies that design their own products have been asking us “how can our product be more eco friendly?”
It is one of these questions that calls for some research and some long, long answers.
I took some time and put it in the form of a mind map (and our designer made it much prettier):
And here is a video walk-through of this eco friendly product idea mindmap, with my comments on each point.
And here is an outline of the same content.
Producing more eco-friendly products
- Reduce wasted material
- Reduce wasted energy
- Reduce scrapped and reprocessed material
> Manufacturers make it right the first time (also connected to reduce wasted energy)
- Production facility uses renewable energy
> Hydroelectric, wind, etc
> Nuclear rather than coal/gas
Low risk of having unsold inventory
- Smaller batches, lower risks
Short supply chain (also connects to low risk of having unsold inventory)
- Make close to market
> Minimize transportation throughout the supply chain
> 3D printing
> Local manufacturing
- Avoid air shipments
- Avoid production delays
- Good quality & planning systems in factories
Product impact is eco-friendly
- Promotes or allows more eco-friendly behaviors/processes. E.g. encourages more people to use a bicycle.
- Displaces a very eco-unfriendly product or behavior. E.g. Stop using single-use cups.
Finance positive carbon activities
- Plant trees for each product made, etc.
Product consumes less resources
- Showerhead uses less water, etc.
- Eliminate retail packaging altogether
- Reduce the amount of materials used
- Made of recycled material
- Returnable containers (common between manufacturing facilities)
- Avoid oil-based plastics that don’t degrade well, etc.
- Use materials that are abundant and require limited processing
Program for end of life
- Recycling or re-use
- Re-use in other application/market
- Disposed of without harm to the environment
What do you think? I am sure I forgot some important points — I just hope I covered the most important ones. Please comment below. Thank you!
Extra reading on green manufacturing
If you want to explore even more content about becoming a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly manufacturer, take a look at this page over at Sofeast: Green Manufacturing Resources