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From Product Designer To Environmentally Conscious Product Designer

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  • Design
  • Ecology
  • Geography


In recent years there has been a growing interest in making products more environmentally benign. Until now public policy has focused mainly on industrial waste streams and end-of-pipe problems and paid little or no attention to the design and development stage of a products life-cycle. Product designers are in a unique position within the product development process and through design have an unrivalled opportunity to address environmental issues. Problems arise when designers who already work to constraints such as cost and function, have to make complex value judgements and deal with the real uncertainties which surround many environmental decisions. It is unrealistic to expect designers to become environmental experts in their own right but there is now a responsibility on designers to be aware of the environmental problems which are particular to the area in which they work. Along with this responsibility comes the need for relevant information and strategies through which this information may be integrated into decision making at the design stage. Through careful design we can break habits generated by our industrial economy. The question is: “What do designers have to do in order to play this crucial role and help break these habits?”

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