Making Sustainable Product Design A Fundamental Aspect Of Your Business

July 19, 2023
Photo by cottonbro studio from Pexels

Environmental considerations are becoming increasingly important for business owners, and it’s not just in order to comply with the legislation. Including ways in which you can minimize your company’s impact on the environment, which means you’re taking active steps to protect the environment, ecosystems and communities. It will also help you enhance your business reputation, ensuring you have a competitive edge over the other enterprises operating in the same niche as yours.

blue and white textile on white textile

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Selecting the materials 

When it comes to creating sustainability, you’ll usually have to change fundamental aspects in order to secure success. The process can seem tricky in the beginning, but once you’ve laid the foundation, it’ll be much easier to proceed. The materials you choose are essential. Ideally, you should try to find something that ensures longevity for your product while also being low-impact.

An Environmental Product Declaration, also known as an EPD, outlines the cycle story of any product, including its global warming potential, resource depletion and pollution levels. Employing EPDs in your company allows you to monitor your environmental performance. You can also communicate the findings to your stakeholders, who will certainly appreciate the objective, fact-based perspective. It’ll also enable you to avoid accusations of greenwashing by getting verified results from an independent party prior to publication.

You should avoid pairing materials that cannot be recycled, as it can mean that you’ll have to dispose of them in a non-traditional way that leaves them in landfills. You should also look for raw material producers and suppliers that use sustainable methods and aim to reduce the amount of resources they use.

Last a lifetime 

The continuous creation, manufacture and selling of goods have created a booming economy, helped many industries develop to previously unseen levels and created completely new ones from scratch as consumer demand kept growing. However, it has also ushered in the era of consumerism, conspicuous consumption and environmental pollution. As more products are created, the average consumer keeps purchasing more, with a significant portion of these items ending up in landfills, often completely unused.

Now the trend has changed, and many shoppers have begun prioritizing quality over quantity in a bid to become more conscious consumers. This change in buying habits has led many entrepreneurs to start wondering what is an LCA. Life cycle assessment methodology looks for the environmental impacts of all stages in a product’s life, from material extraction to manufacturing, distribution and ultimate use. Recycling and disposal are taken into account as well, with the aim of recording the entire environmental profile of a particular item.

The process provides entrepreneurs with a comprehensive view of their business procedures so that they have a better idea of which operations must be maintained and which require immediate change. Additional information, including the amount of energy necessary to create the product and the environmental footprint associated with management and repair, can also be taken into account.

To create a product that lasts longer, you should also consider implementing a comprehensive quality-control program that’s performed at the beginning or early stages of production rather than towards the end. This can be particularly beneficial if you’re working with products with several included components, as well as items from which a high-quality level is expected. Avoid compromising, as you need to stick to your beliefs in order to enjoy a successful outcome.

Go for green 

To ensure a successful outcome for both your business and the environment, you should make the shift towards eco-friendly practices and procedures across as many areas as possible. Sustainable products are more believable when they come from a company that’s committed to reducing its carbon footprint. For instance, you can look for ways to reduce your energy consumption. Turn the heating off when it’s not needed, and ensure there’s plenty of natural lighting so that employees don’t have to keep the lights on throughout the day.

If it’s feasible, you should look to make a partial or total switch to renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind or hydropower. Ensure that the products you create are completely recyclable or have a timeless design that makes them less likely to be disposed of shortly after purchase.

Better processes 

When it comes to improving the processes you use, it can seem like the instructions are a little vague. The best way to establish how procedures can be enhanced within your company is to take a closer look at the current system you use. Run an inspection and determine the aspects you could change to make procedures more sustainable.

For instance, you might find that your current packaging is unsustainable and inefficient. If you use too much material to wrap goods, you can find ways to use less while maintaining the same safety standards. Consider ditching plastics as well by shifting to recycled cardboard or paper. Cornstarch packaging is another example, being completely biodegradable and suitable for compost. Packaging made from seaweed, mushrooms or biodegradable plastics is also more environmentally friendly and shows you’re taking responsibility for the manner in which your products are delivered.

You can make the processes more efficient by reducing your energy consumption. Water is extensively used across all industries, leading to many environmental activists warning that its unchecked use could lead to steep resource depletion and an ensuing crisis in which members of the general public will have a more difficult time accessing water.

If it’s possible, you can begin focusing on multifunctional items so that customers can get several uses out of a single object. For instance, when it comes to clothing, multifunctional designs allow you to turn trousers into a skirt or overalls into a top. You can also set becoming zero waste as your ultimate goal, as many companies seek to achieve this milestone. Gradually decreasing the amount of rubbish you send to the landfill is the first fundamental step in that direction.

When it comes to making your business more sustainable, you need to change the paradigm within your business and create a completely new environment.

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