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Gettin green design into business practice

Postby designleft » December 1st, 2005, 3:16 pm


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Just wondering what obstacles people might have had in trying to implement green design/manufacturing practices within their company (especially those with people in charge who couldn't care less). It's always hard to change the direction of an entrenched system but if you've had success, how did you overcome those obstacles?

Postby tmw » October 3rd, 2008, 10:34 am


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I know the original post was posted a long while ago, but I'm now coming across the same problem.

I'm finally getting some buy-in from my boss, after 1 year of my comments. There's much more attention from upper management once they understand how "green" can be quantified into dollars (in savings). And of course because a member of management brings up the idea, people are willing to listen.

Would love to hear how people have gained support from upper management to create "green initiatives", particularly in the work place and manufacturing. Are there good ways to present these ideas to people who don't really want to listen?

Postby carton » October 3rd, 2008, 10:46 am


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Maybe their boss would like to listen to stories of how your boss doesn't like to hear about cost saving, green ideas. It also helps to have down to earth specific requests and recommendations, rather than broad generalizations about how we should "go green"

Maybe it doesn't, shouldn't matter its green, just say, for instance, "if we begin using (x greener material) it will save us y cents per unit. Oh, and also its better for the environment"

Also some companies will take serious consequences to change a course of action, and in extreme situations, you may need to take a look at the company you are working for, and ask yourself if you can be part of an organization whose values are so mal-aligned from yours.

But it's a hard time to be quitting a decent job over values with the expectation that you will find something else. No one can fault you right now for keeping a roof over your and your family's head, even if you have to do something you don't agree with temporarily.

Postby GURU » October 3rd, 2008, 11:03 am


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My company started a global brand initiative that implements green design/manufacturing practices throughout all of our lines last year. The only obstacles I have found is the price of recycled, chrome free and organic materials. You need to raise the price of your product or agree to take a hit on your margins to make a statement to the consumer.

Postby tmw » October 3rd, 2008, 11:24 am


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Thanks for the comments so far!

Carton: Yes, there are some issues that do not align with my own values.. searching to make the next 'right' move. But geen-ing the co' will help as well!

GURU: I'm only starting to learn about all this 'green'. What changes have you made to green the design/manuf process? Can you offer advice or suggestions?


Specific examples are a good idea.. if X-material could be cheaper and environmentally beneficial, it would be great.

Any ideas on how to find recycled plastics for manufacture?

Postby carton » October 3rd, 2008, 12:15 pm


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Postby GURU » October 3rd, 2008, 1:10 pm


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I'm only starting to learn about all this 'green'. What changes have you made to green the design/manuf process? Can you offer advice or suggestions?


All my packaging has gone to post-consumer used materials. Hangers and boxes are more than 50% post-consumer cardboard. Any 'plastic' bags are made from a cellulous fiber that looks and acts like plastic. It quickly biodegrades in the heat and moisture of a landfill.

Here's a few more things I have been working with...

PET (recycled plastic bottles) mesh and other woven material.
Organic canvas.
Water based glue and cements
Natural crepe in place of synthetic or partially synthetic rubber.
Chrome free leathers.

The problem lies with the price of these materials. We CAN change the price structure of recycled materials my using them more often and if we change the ratio of recycled to non-recycled materials. (see: graph)
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Postby Alerick » October 22nd, 2008, 11:13 am


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Unfortunately, plastic is not like aluminum it has a minimum recycle time and it is mixed with a high percentage of virgin plastic. If it is not, the plstic will not form correctly.


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