Do you know the environmental impact of the products you make and consume?

According to The World Counts, around 2.12 billion tons of waste is dumped on the planet. E-waste alone accounts for 50 million metric tons of waste generated globally every year, as outlined by Statista. But as landfills run out of space and consumers call for more sustainable goods, companies are urged to consider a product’s environmental impact during its use and, eventually, its end of life. Every product we make and use should no longer be a commodity but a catalyst for change.

Environmental regulations like France's repairability index are paving the way for a durability index by 2024 to measure product longevity. Regulations like these call for products that are designed not only for functionality and aesthetics but also for repairability and durability. Why is this important? Designing products so they may be reused ensures materials stay in the loop for as long as possible while generating value for you and your customers.

Design for the Entire Product Lifecycle

Designing for all product lifecycle phases takes into account the environmental impact of a product, from the extraction of raw materials to its end-of-life. This approach requires a holistic view of the product lifecycle, which includes the following phases:

  • Raw material extraction and processing
  • Product design and development
  • Manufacturing and production
  • Distribution and logistics
  • Use and maintenance
  • End-of-life management

By optimizing product design for each phase, companies can reduce the environmental impact of their products and increase their circularity.

Incorporate Eco-Design Principles

Based on research by UN Environment Programme (UNEP), decisions made during the design stage can influence a product’s environmental impact by up to 80%. Eco-design principles are at the core of a circular product lifecycle. By incorporating these principles into product design, you can extend the lifespan of your products and reduce the need for frequent replacements.

The virtual twin makes it easier to visualize how eco-design principles can be applied effectively. Imagine being able to test multiple what-if scenarios through a wide range of simulated settings, including drop tests and sustainable materials. All before execution in the real world.

Are you looking to quantify the environmental impact of your product? With a holistic view of the product lifecycle, you can perform lifecycle assessments (LCA) to assess the product's environmental impact — from material selection, manufacturing, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling.

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Design for Repair and Disassembly

Imagine being able to simulate the dismantling process and identify ways to improve the recovery of valuable materials. Let’s look at smartphones. If you want to design a more repairable phone, simulation on the virtual twin helps you confirm that the screen can be taken out without causing any damage, simulate potentially harmful actions like removing a phone battery which if not handled properly, can cause a leak of toxic electrolytes. This is why designing for disassembly is fundamental to circular economy thinking.

With the virtual twin, you can rethink your product design from the ground up, ensuring that products are easy to assemble and disassemble. This promotes the recovery of valuable components and materials at the end of a product's life, reducing waste and conserving resources.

Turn Circularity Thinking Into Action

In today’s take-make-waste world, the need for circular practices has never been more critical. To truly embrace the circular economy, you must consider the entire product lifecycle, from inception to disposal. This requires a fundamental shift in how products are designed, produced, used, and disposed. The role of sustainable product design is crucial, as it determines the environmental impact of a product throughout its lifecycle.

Opt for the right circularity strategy that prioritizes environmental impact and secures measurable results. With a holistic approach to product design, you’re not just making the circular economy achievable; you’re making it desirable. Together, let’s forge a path toward a circular world.

Take Definitive Steps Toward Circularity Success

Inspired by actionable strategies from Dassault Systèmes’ industry experts? Dive into our Circularity Insights Digest, your definitive guide to transform circularity goals into scalable, achievable and profitable outcomes. 

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It's time for real results. When you embrace the 3DEXPERIENCE®, you take a huge, meaningful step toward the circular economy you've been envisioning.