Back to basics: injecting sustainability into the earliest stages of design April 30, 2013 by Sophie Thomas

hardythomas000's Blog

Written for the Guardians new Resource Efficiency Hub, Great Recovery project leader Sophie Thomas explores how waste is a design flaw, and how we need to rethink products to ensure fewer end up on the mountain of e-waste.
Six months in and The Great Recovery programme, run by the design team within the RSA’s Action and Research Centre has begun in earnest. Our investigation into new design methodologies for a circular economy has thrown up some big very complex challenges. Trying to consider the re-design of even a fraction of the 600 million tonnes of products consumed in the UK is a pretty daunting task.
We are a linear nation with only 19% of the materials in those products being recovered and re-used in the UK. Our current best practice for recycling electronics is to sort, crush then export to somewhere else to refine. Of the 40 odd elements in…

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