What is Sustainable Design?

Sustainable design is innovative, thoughtful design that aims to eliminate negative environmental impacts. Sustainable design is not solely about using recycled or biodegradable materials, not everything needs to be made from cardboard! Sustainability can be achieved by considering three basic ideas: People, Planet, Profits. To be sustainable a design must consider the needs of the people who use the product, what impacts it will have on the environment and whether it makes financial sense.

Too Much, Too Long?
For decades scientists, environmentalists and economists have been warning us of the irreversible effect our continued over consumption could have on the environment and consequently the way we live in the future. To ensure we have a future it is key we make some changes…

0% Waste

The idea of zero waste suggests that the entire concept of waste should be eliminated. Waste should instead be thought of as a resource or residual product. The concept of 0% waste provides a number of opportunities to increase profit and reduce environmental impacts.
It is unlikely we will stop buying things however; by thinking innovatively and being resourceful we can both consume and live in a 0% waste society.

What design can do?

Design can ultimately change the way we use our planets resources. It plays a huge role in how we will live in the future. Sustainable design is about making everything we use and how we use it more efficient and effective, without destroying the world. By investing in sustainable design now we can ensure that creative, practical and exciting ideas are generated to enhance our lives now and for generations to come.

So, Think about this…

Design can help by giving people a choice in how they live their lives. Sustainable products can make it easy for society to reduce its impact on the environment.

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Extract from How the science of behaviour change can help with sustainability

“The converted want to change the world. The majority just want incremental improvement in their farms, businesses, lives, families, health etc. There's nothing wrong with that and we can't transform the majority into the converted. Instead we have to respect their hopes and enable them to achieve the things that matter to them.
That's why successful farm sustainability programs improve the look and productivity of farms, why effective exercise programs are enjoyable and sociable, why effective climate change programs give people comfortable homes they're proud to show their friends, and why effective bush care programs give people fun, pleasure and the feeling of being part of a family.
So, instead of asking "How can I make the public share my passionate concerns for climate, road safety, domestic violence etc?" we need to ask "How can I be of service to the concerns they already have?"”

(Les Robinson. How the science of behaviour change can help with sustainability. The Guardian, 18 January 2011)