Why 'eco-effective' instead of 'sustainable' or 'environmentally friendly'?
Nowadays the life of a product elapses in a linear line, from creation to waste.
Materials can be combined into a new product in a design and production process. Because of this problems can appear, like the wasting of materials, the creation of waste, the misuse of nature, the use of toxic materials and unfair working conditions.
One of the strategies that are used much these days by companies is eco-efficiency.
This revolves around a production that is as efficient as possible in which we do more with fewer resources. I believe that this is a good start, but not the best solution because this strategy still leads to rubbish and wastage.
Recycling materials and products is another way to work in an environmentally friendlier way.
In reality, this usually really is ‘downcycling’, because when making the product no thought have gone out to what will happen to the product when it no longer fulfils its function. Old clothes become cleaning cloths or car filling. A real shame! These are good, usable fibres that can get a new life as a piece of clothing or accessory when used with the right design and the right way of recycling.
The solution? Eco-effective designing!
Look at nature, she exists of life cycles. Old materials are nutrition for new products. Important in this is that the products don’t contain toxic materials. The materials should stay separated in an organic or technical system. Designers have to think about the next use of a products' material during the design process, to make materials upcyclable. That is eco-effectiveness: taking the effects (consequences) of certain design choices on people and the environment into account.
Eco comes from the Latin ‘oeco’ and the Greek ‘oikos’, which means something like household. That is why eco is everything that lives around you, just like a household is a group that lives together.
This could mean:
taking the needs of the user and the functionality he/she is looking for into account
bringing out the added value of a product
respecting people and the environment
eliminating the presence of potential toxic materials
thinking in life cycles
design for disassembly
looking at the ecological, economical and cultural impact of the design