12 Oct Sustainability: Green Fingers
There has been an undeniable shift in the world’s mindset towards sustainability and “going green”. As consumers find ways to leave a smaller carbon footprint, businesses and brands have had to follow suit.
Luckily, consumers are willing to pick up some of the bill, with 66% of respondents in a Nielsen’s study saying that they are willing to pay more for products and services from environmentally minded companies. Interested in taking your first sustainable steps?
Here are some green tips.
There are so many ways to show consumers your commitment to sustainability and the environment. These are just a few of our favourites:
According to Cone’s CSR study, 91% of global consumers expect companies to do more than just make a profit, but to also operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues.
While there is awareness of what goes into the manufacturing, like the harmful materials and the process, the design intent is often overlooked. Design theories like “Cradle to Cradle” or “Cradle to Grave” take holistic views of an item’s life cycle. You don’t have to get too philosophical about your approach, but consider the following.
Is there an opportunity to use commercially recycled materials? There is often a trade off between “green” and aesthetics as recycled materials often look a little worse for ware when compared to their virgin equivalent. Paper might not look as bright and shiny, and plastics may look a little milky but it’s worth it in the end.
Have you taken stock of what you have? There may be something existing that you could modify or adjust to suit your needs. If not, think of the potential life span of an item and design in features which give it the ability to be reused in the future. This can save money and the environment at the same time.
Land and ocean fill are two of our largest environmental issues. Don’t throw things away, rather give them a second life through smart design. Such as packaging that can be used as POS, or billboards turned into bags, or POS that can be used as furniture. The second life of a product can often have a greater offset than “recyclable” materials, especially in countries who don’t have the necessary infrastructure to recycle all materials.
So there is a lot of noise around materials, especially the big bad plastic, and how terrible they are for the environment, but not all of us can tell the good and the bad apart. Knowledge is power so here’s your sustainable materials 101, class is in session.
Materials to avoid
- Acrylic, nylon, resin, PVC rubber
- Chromed metal
- Solvent based ink & paint
- MDF, chipboard engineered stone
- Paper laminated vinyl
Materials to use
- ABS, poly-carbonate, polyethylene, organic plastics
- Mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum
- Bamboo solid woods
- FSC paper, honeycomb boards
There are so many alternative material choices available and with growing support they are becoming more and more affordable. Just remember, it’s not just the material chosen, but the consideration of the full life cycle of a product which can make a real impact.