Case Studies

Tips: Reduce material variety

September 30, 2010

Designing as many aspects of the product as you can from the same material makes recycling the product at its end of life easier, more efficient, and more profitable.

Example: At its Chupai, Taiwan plant, Philips Electronics, N.S. designed the Typhoon, a high-end color monitor, using green product design techniques. As a result, the monitor requires 35 percent less time to manufacture than a conventional monitor due to a 42 percent reduction of material and components.

Watch out: Be sure to not proliferate harmful materials in the name of reducing material variety.  Non-recyclable, non-renewable, and toxic materials should generally be avoided when possible.  Deciding early on to use recycled, recyclable, renewable and biodegradable materials for major components of the design will help reduce material variety without negative side effects.

IKEA Benjamin Stool
Haworth Zody Chair