I have been in new product development for about ten years. Half of that time was in a consultancy and the rest has been spread across electronics, industrial products, and outdoor goods (which is where I am now). I miss the pace and variety of consultancy work but I get caught up thinking about the long term implications of developing products -- I asked the design director at the consultancy and he gave a nervous smile and said that their must be landfills completely filled with his 30 years of products. Plastic housings, foam inserts, throw-away medical kits, one-use consumables, etc, etc.
Right now I work on aluminum and steel components. Both are ore extracted metals but I have convinced myself that they can/should be recycled at the end of their useful life and can be reincarnated as something else. The products won't end up in a garbage ball in the Pacific (although their packing very well might). Things are made in decent factories in Asia and they are durable goods that should last for years. I feel good about the product, but the work is not nearly as exciting as consulting.
Is it possible to survive in the consultancy world working strictly on designs that are green, eco-friendly, sustainable, or any of the other buzz words that describe responsibly designed, ethically sourced, and throughly planned for a proper product life cycle? Every project I worked on at the consultancy was either too pressed for time or on too tight a budget and no client ever chose the eco option.