There are many steps to creating and manufacturing a sustainable product but ultimately it starts with one important thing: materials. While many plastics can be recycled today, a sustainable, eco-friendly product is more than just how it can be disposed of by the end consumer when it reaches its end of life, but how that material came to be in the first place.
Fortunately, this step isn’t as daunting as it sounds. Companies that are already familiar with manufacturing products will likely already have the tooling in place, which means the next step is to find the materials to suit their requirements for products in production.
There is now a huge variety of materials which companies can manufacture products from, some of which can be both surprising and eye-catching like veneer made from heirloom corn or plastic made from recycled coffee grounds. Another inventive material which is finding its way into a consumer product near you is plastic from waste found in the ocean such as discarded fishing nets and other man-made plastics littering our shores.
Bluetooth tracking company Chipolo did just that with their Chipolo ONE Ocean Edition, a limited edition version of its Chipolo ONE item finder made from recovered fishing nets, trawls and ropes floating in the sea which is not only great for cleaning up the environment but is sustainable and fully recyclable, too. To take it one step further, the Chipolo team also designed the packaging itself from recycled (and recyclable) which proves brands can change the way they create products for a better world.
Sustainable products don’t just end with the unit itself but can extend to the packaging it is placed in. Ensuring that the packaging is also reusable or recyclable is another great step for creating a sustainable product. A simple example of this is using recycled cardboard or paper or even mushrooms for the product packaging. Something more novel (and fun for consumers) could be using packing peanuts which are made from wheat or corn starch that can be dissolved in water. Dare I say it, the possibilities are almost endless.
We believe sustainable design can be a great thing for not only company ethos, but our future generations too, as it helps keep our planet clean and reduces waste in both the design of the product and the waste – or lack thereof – created by the product.
There are of course many other ways in which companies can gear towards becoming more sustainable, especially when it comes to how the product is manufactured (both in waste created by the manufacturing process but also the carbon footprint). At Gallium Ventures we believe in helping our companies achieve better products for the planet through our creative campaigns and product development, and you should too.