How Product Design Affects Future Recycling Rates

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Ease of recycling all begins at the design state. Photo: Shutterstock

Ease of recycling all begins at the design stage. Photo: Shutterstock

There are a number of factors when it comes to getting people to recycle — education, awareness, local programs — but none of that matters if a product isn’t recyclable in the first place. Instead of thinking at the end of a product’s life about the ways it can be used next, it’s much more effective to take future use into consideration in the design stage — which is exactly what the Design for Recycling initiative has been promoting for more than 25 years.

Started by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), the annual Design for Recycling award, which is currently accepting submissions until Feb. 14, recognizes companies and organizations that demonstrate innovative design thinking. Recent winners, which include Cascades Fine Papers Group, Wind Simplicity, Coca-Cola Co. and Hewlett Packard, make recyclability a priority and, as a result, have made significant strides in keeping waste out of landfills.

Next page: Design for Recycling Principles

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