Eco-innovation is a term which has been coined fairly recently, and is often used in connection with other concepts such as eco-efficiency or environmental technology. The term is used to refer to the creation of products or processes with a direct or indirect positive impact on the environment, and encompasses not only the technological aspects of innovation, but also its political and social aspects.
Given the increased public awareness regarding environmental issues, it pays to design and create products and services keeping in mind their environmental impact. That being said, here are some of the most important principles of eco-innovation:
1. Minimal material consumption.
The amount of materials used can be lowered by increasing the efficiency of the production process, by reducing the product dimensions, or by using stronger materials. Less material used also means lower weight, which means lower fuel consumption during transportation.
2. Eco-friendly materials
When calculating the environmental impact of the materials you are using in your product you need to take into consideration not only the impact of producing the material, but also that of maintaining the product. This is why plastic is more environmental-friendly than wood, for instance, especially for recyclable products. Additionally, you can choose to use recycled materials. Increasingly more people are becoming interested in products made from recycled materials.
3. Recyclable products
Often, products made from recyclable materials won’t be recycled. That’s because they cost too much to recycle. Design the products so that they’re profitable to recycle: easy to disassemble, and contain enough recyclable material.
4. Longer product life
The life of a product can be increased either by using more durable materials, or by making the product upgradable. Additionally, you can design your products in such a manner that customers are less likely to become bored with them.
5. Lower energy consumption
Energy resources have environmental impact as well, whether electricity, gas, or natural gas. Designing energy efficient products brings benefits both for the environment and your customers’ pockets.