Sustainable Product Design

Whether or not you’re worried about climate change, it’s obvious that we are reaching a turning point when it comes to environmental issues. Human beings have changed this planet in such a way that it is much different than it was before the industrial revolution. We’ve added an unprecedented amount of carbon to our atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and our methods of animal agriculture. Not only do we have the issues of pollution via carbon dioxide and methane gas, but we have seriously damaged the biodiversity in many different areas of the planet.

Making A Personal Difference

There are many reasons to be nervous about our environmental future. However, it’s often better to focus on what you can do personally to help rather than constantly fretting over the worse case scenario. There’s really only so much that one person can do to influence governmental policy. With that being said, you do have the power to choose which products that you buy. ‘Voting with you wallet’ can be the best way to influence businesses to create more sustainable (environmentally friendly) products. Although it is important to do your research to determine if these ‘green’ products are as easy on the Earth as advertised. I’ve compiled a short list of products that have impressed me in their efforts to have a minimal impact on climate change and the loss of biodiversity.

Sustainability
Credit: Careysplc.co.uk

Recycling Friendly Water Packaging

You’re most likely aware of the staggering amount of plastic waste that is produced by the United States alone every day. A significant chunk of that waste is from plastic water bottles. While it’s true that you can recycling water bottles, it is much more difficult to recycle plastic than it is paper products. In fact, paper recycling is a much more effective process than plastic recycling. This means that it takes less energy and more of the material is able to return to the product lifecycle.

Many consumers are initially resistant to the idea of a paper water bottle. They may think that paper just isn’t the right material for the storage of water. Maybe because they think that it isn’t as clean as plastic or maybe they just want to see how “pure-looking” their water is before they buy it. But, let’s be realistic here. When is the last time you bought water and it had something in it? I’m guessing the answer to that is: probably never.

Paper is, in fact, a great material for the storage of individual serving sizes of water. There are quite a few different companies out there who are going after this concept in both the interest of sustainability and profit.

Paper Water Bottle
Credit: PaperWaterBottle.com

The Electric Car Popularity Contest

The concept of electric cars have been around just about as long as the automobile itself. Internal combustion engines have dominated the market for the last century for a myriad of reasons. However, it’s clear that we’re in desperate need of alternatives. If you’re interested in the idea of owning an electric vehicle yourself, then you’ve undoubtably heard of Tesla. Their fan base is quite impressive, yet not unwarranted in the slightest bit. Elon Musk’s vision for their vehicles can take a good amount of the credit for revitalizing public interest in electric vehicles. They have achieved this through high-end styling, the latest technology, outstanding safety features, and incredible performance. Before Tesla became a part of the public consciousness, the most common mental image that a person had of an electric vehicle was the extremely ‘un-sexy’ Toyota Prius. Going along with that image, people generally viewed electric vehicles to be slow and just plain boring.

Tesla’s Model S did a fantastic job of smashing the preconceived ideas of what an electric vehicle can be. In fact, many people are surprised to hear that the Model S is faster than any gasoline powered vehicle (the top of the line Model S vs. production gas powered vehicles, this is). The true benefit to this explosion of interest in the Tesla brand is that they are literally creating a new market that has never existed on this scale before. While it still creates pollution to produce these vehicles in many different aspects, they are a large improvement over gasoline powered vehicles. Areas that hold large concentrations of vehicles are typically choked with all of the emissions from traditional vehicles. Electric vehicles don’t have any emissions coming directly from the car, so they’re much healthier to be near for city dwellers.

The best part about the design of the Tesla is that it is so enticing people without any environmental concerns at all are still attracted to the vehicle. It’s something that can stand out on it’s own as a good choice.

Tesla Model S
Credit: Tesla.com

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