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Waste Reduction

Many different types of 'waste' can be created when a product is used, e.g.

  • waste paper from a photocopier
  • grey water from a sink, bath, washing machine
  • packaging from any product
  • noise
  • heat from oven doors
  • the smell from a new oven
  • detergents in washing water
  • bags and filters in vacuum cleaners

Waste could be minimised by:

  • educating users so that they don't waste resources
  • providing functions which allow users to reduce material consumption i.e. double sided function as standard on copiers or ‘eco’ printing option to reduce ink consumption
  • limiting the amount of disposable ‘consumables’ or ‘attachments’ needed to operate use the product (on some occasions company policy can encourage users to waste more, especially if a heavy focus is placed on the sale of 'consumables')
  • if consumables are required ensure they are designed to be easily disassembled and recycled or components reused.
    designing electrical products which use alternative energy sources or rechargable batteries
  • giving the user feedback on the products environmental impacts - for further information see 'eco-feedback' in the Educate the User section.
  • capturing ‘waste’ heat or energy and reusing it
  • changing the delivery mechanism to the customer i.e. moving away from products to services

For ideas on how to minimise waste at end of life visit the design for disassembly section.