Should ‘recyclable trump recycled’ in the product design & buying lottery?
Surely, as customers we must educate ourselves, and teach the businesses that make our ‘stuff’ that truly and literally ‘enough is enough’
It is correct to prioritise ‘keeping product out of landfill’ This is most important. That is why the evolution of resell, remaking, repairing, reinventing and renting is so important. The more existing products that can remain in circulation the better.
To facilitate this, above all new products must be reusable and recyclable. There has been, for me, too much focus on ‘products made from recycled,’ Certainly as a greenwashing statement. But these are ultimately sustainably worthless if they are not also recyclable. You are simply extending the raw material by only one product life. It is still landfill bound. It is just a ‘stay of execution’
By designing recyclable products, you are also facilitating the next generation of recycled products. It does not necessarily work the other way around.
To design products that are always recyclable, is what creates the circular approach and is what avoids landfill. Product design must prioritise recyclability and reusability.
Designers and buyers unfortunately, either inadvertantly or without caring, use ‘monster hybrids’ of materials that make their ‘creations’ unresuable or unrecyclable. This is partly down to poor education, partly down to exploitation of cheap resources and manufacturing.
Ultimately we come to my favourite ‘least-favourite’ subject volume. Until customers put value before volume, then designers and buyers will not do so. But only when the ‘value is in the value’ for brands will the product attention be truly focused on ensuring quality and detailing that allows reusability and recyclability.
As customers we must educate ourselves, and teach the businesses that make our ‘stuff’ that truly and literally ‘enough is enough’
In the meantime…
Renting, recycling and the circular supply chain is featured in the new book – ‘Meaning in the Retail Madness – How to be an Essential Retailer’
If you’d like to read my book for many more retailer insights and best practice. And to here my thoughts on retail’s future, then that’s an excellent idea.
I hope that the sections on how to flourish in the ‘The life and times of the Essential Retailer’ how to evolve ‘Agile Organisations’ and excel in ‘Astute Strategies’ may be a source of inspiration and guidance. You will also find 70 action plans and 90 retail best practice insights that may help you to assess your current weaknesses and opportunities.
Enjoy your read.