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Design for Disassembly (DfD)

The imminent Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive will mean that any electrical and electronic products you design and manufacture will have to be collected for reuse/recycling and recovery at the end of their useful life.

The decisions you make early in the design process can ultimately affect how easily the products you design can be disassembled and recycled or reused.

Design for Disassembly (DfD) is the process of designing products so that they can easily, cost-effectively and rapidly taken apart at the end of the product's life so that components can be reused and/or recycled.

Tips for diasessembly
  • design sub-assemblies which can be taken apart quickly and easily
  • use standardised tools
  • reduce the number and type of parts
  • avoid time-consuming disassembly paths
  • enable multiple detachment of parts/components in one operation
  • when using electrical circuits:
    • mount components on a printed circuit board with detachable leads, do not solder
    • use plugs that push into place and can easily be pulled out
  • when considering which fixings to use:
    • be consistent in size and type of fixing screws
    • use self threading screws rather than bolts
    • use fixings which snap, clip or slot into place
    • avoid using adhesives which may require chemical processing to dissolve, if adhesives are necessary:
      • use adhesives with low hazardous solvent emission
    • minimise the use of silicone
    • choose seals which can be easily removed 
    • remember clean surfaces facilitate recycling
  • when considering the use of labels
    • avoid mixing of non-compatible polymer materials
    • avoid plastic labels on metal parts if they are not critical
    • consider stamping instead
    • avoid PVC materials in labels

Sample case studies

This site contains lots of examples of products which incorporate design for disassembly, below a few to be getting on with:

  • Hewlett Packard
For More Information

For more information read: Clark. T, Adams. G and Charter. M (ed.) (2002) Smart ecoDesign™ Eco-design Checklist: For Electronic Manufacturers, ‘Systems Integrators’, and Suppliers of Components and Sub-assemblies, Version 2, Centre for Sustainable Design, Surrey, UK,