Sustainability addresses the environmental, social, and economic impacts of materials, processes, and products. This science provides methodologies to measure the impacts and enable more informed decisions, improving the design and environmental profile of products. The preferred methodology of analysis is the Life Cycle Assessment that evaluates the whole product cycle, materials, manufacturing, distribution, use, and end-of-life. The LCA results can be communicated in different ways, including a B2B document known as an Environmental Product Declaration.
Better management of materials starts from the design phase and requires a comprehensive view. The use of materials is defined at this stage, deciding what the end of life of materials will be. There are strategies that can be implemented at the design phase and at any other phase of the production of goods that can prevent pollution and solid waste generation. Learning where and what triggers waste and tracing the materials to keep track of them can facilitate their continued use in our economy. However, it is important to return healthier and safer materials that don't pose harm to users and the environment. Implementing waste assessments, traceability, health declarations, and circular design can facilitate safer material re-use in the economy, green procurement, reducing waste-to-landfill, and better materials management.
CIRCULAR SUPPLY CHAIN
The first step to getting materials circulating back in the economy is material ingredient optimization that can enable the second step, circular solutions. Designers can create sustainable designs in the paper but to make them the supply chain has a major role. Without optimum solutions from suppliers, designers can't specify safer materials compromising their circularity. Removing red flags from ingredients and helping suppliers improve their products enables a whole new market of circular materials that can be traced and reintegrated into the economy. Circularity metrics and strategies can help the supply chain become circular.