Designing with the End in Mind

IDSA Fellow Featured in Wall Street Journal Article on Sustainable Design

Jun 14 2016 - 1:27pm

The Wall Street Journal reports industrial designers are playing a key role in new efforts by global companies to design with the end of the product life cycle in mind. Professor WIlliam Bullock, FIDSA, is a sustainable design expert on the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (site of the 2016 IDSA Midwest District Design Conference). He tells the Journal, "a product’s design choices for the types of materials and varieties of components are critical."

The article says Liam—a 29-armed robot capable of taking apart more than one million iPhones a year—"speaks to a big challenge facing tech manufacturers today. Even as they strive to entice consumers to ditch their existing devices for the next new thing, companies must figure out what to do with the growing numbers of devices that are destined for the scrapheap as a result."

“We think as much now about the recycling and end of life of products as the design of products itself,” says Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives. Other electronics makers have simplified disassembly by replacing glue and screws with parts that snap together; some have reduced the variety of plastics used and avoid mercury and other hazardous materials that can complicate disposal.

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