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Sustainable Consumption: Design for Disassembly

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on February 5th, 2010

Source: Core 77

Image: Core 77

From “Afterlife: an essential guide to design for disassembly“, by Alex Diener

What is Design for Disassembly?

Design for Disassembly (DfD) is a design strategy that considers the future need to disassemble a product for repair, refurbish or recycle. Will a product need to be repaired? Which parts will need replacement? Who will repair it? How can the experience be simple and intuitive? Can the product be reclaimed, refurbished, and resold? If it must be discarded, how can we facilitate its disassembly into easily recyclable components? By responding to questions like these, the DfD method increases the effectiveness of a product both during and after its life.

Where did Design for Disassembly come from?

Our ancient tools, meticulously crafted from natural materials and intended for repair and reuse, are perhaps the earliest example of DfD. During the 1950’s rise of consumerism, fueled by mass production methods, cheap labor, and design fashion, disposability became the norm. Over time, the waste created by planned obsolescence and a throw-away culture was exposed. Organizations studied the negative impacts of toxins found in our product waste and governments began to regulate. In 2004, the European Union passed the landmark WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive, placing the responsibility of disposing electronic products with their manufacturers. This tectonic shift was recognized as a sign of things to come by global manufacturers, driving interest in the DfD strategy.

How do I Design for Disassembly?

Given environmental and cost constraints, our challenge is as much product de-creation as it is creation. And DfD strategies are applied throughout the entire design cycle; designers will need to educate the team, discover waste, set goals, create solutions, and then monitor results through production, release, use, and end-of-life.

Read the full article for more information including:

Pre-Design: Organizational Education + Buy-In

Pre-Design: Research the Recycling Stream

Design: Set goals + Project Planning

Design: Research Materials + Processes

Design: Create DfD Concepts


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