Sustainable Product Design: Designing for Abundance

The business world is driven by competition: to produce more for less, to sell more than your competitors, to make more money, to sell to more countries, and then there is a slightly different type of competition – to come up with the best idea or design a new way of doing something.

UpcycleCover_webEarlier this year, William McDonough and Michael Braungart, sustainability product design consultants,  published a book with an interesting challenge to the future of industry. Titled “The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability – Designing for Abundance”, the focus of the book is a discussion of how businesses might become part of a regeneration cycle in which there is no waste or cost for ecological measures.

This book builds on their book “Cradle to Cradle: remaking the way we make things” published in 2002, calling for industry to completely let go of the production of non-recyclable productions in favor of ones that are completely non-polluting. The authors are not just idea men, they both have been working on making their ideas realities, one idea at a time.

Businesses need to find ways to eliminate dependence on non-renewable products or byproducts containing pollutants that increase costs through special handling and disposal requirements. Eco-consultants can be part of the solution to help companies think about how they manufacturer, package and dispose of product.

Sustainable Innovation

YERT – Your Environmental Road Trip, is a film that entailed a year long road trip in the U.S. showing  unique and innovate ways to approach environmental sustainability. The film features some incredible innovations.  Check out this short preview of some of the innovations.

One of the more practical and large scale ideas is the Solar Roadways project that is working to pave roads with solar panels that you can drive on. Check out this short four minute video on their idea to increase solar energy and guarantee power to outlying areas in our country.

Recycled Island: An Innovative Way to Deal with Waste

An interesting blog post on Discovery News talks about the massive Garbage Patch located in the Pacific ocean that could be turned into an ‘recycled island’. Designed by Whim Architecture, the entire island would be floating and be made from all the plastic waste that is currently in the ocean.  These innovative ideas to how to deal with the increasing waste stream is a start in the right direction. Check out their website, Recycled Island, that gives more details to the idea and concept.