Summary: Sustainable manufacturing has increasingly included design for environment methodologies with the objective of improving the environmental performance of products over their entire life cycles. Current European Union (EU) directives on eco-design focus on the use phase of energy-related products (ErPs). However, the maintenance of various household non-ErPs is performed with ErPs; therefore, the environmental impacts of product maintenance have an important role in the life cycle of non-ErPs. This article presents two eco-design studies where the implementation of improvement strategies of the use and maintenance phase of products had relevant results. Furthermore, environmental communication-to-user strategies were important to ensure the commitment of users toward eco-efficient behaviors. First, a knife was eco-designed according to strategies which focused on materials, processing, maintenance, and communication to user. By applying eco-design in a cradle-to-consumer scope, improvements decreased the environmental impact of the eco-designed product by 30%. However, when considering the entire life cycle of the eco-designed product, environmental impacts could be reduced by up to 40% and even up to ≈93% (depending on the cleaning procedure) as a result of large improvements in the maintenance stage. Second, a woman's jacket was eco-designed following multifunctionality, recycled materials, and efficient maintenance strategies. The new Livingstone jacket reached environmental improvements between 32% and 52% in the indicators analyzed. In this case, maintenance contributed between 40% and 87% of the reduction. As shown in this study, maintenance behavior and communication-to-user strategies are crucial to the eco-design of different household products (traditional vs. flexible design) and their consideration in the design process can reduce their environmental impact by between 40% and 80%. © 2014 by Yale University.
|Journal||Journal of Industrial Ecology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2014|
- Communication to user
- Energy-related products (ErPs)
- Industrial ecology