Every product you design will have different materials requirements and different options for making an environmental choice - there are no easy solutions.
However, when selecting materials for your product there are a few basic rules to remember:
- follow the simple hierachy - REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, AVOID
- use as few types of materials as possible
- reduce the quantity of material used in the manufacture of a product through sensible ribbing design
- can you use a renewable material?
- select materials which are compatible for recycling where possible - see recycling section
- use materials with recycled content if appropriate:
- it is important to create markets for recycled plastics
- but recycled materials are often composites, so may be difficult to recycle.
- The RoHS directive outlines a number of materials which should be avoided in product design