JCAD Owner Featured in Forbes
30 November, 2022
January 13, 2021 at 2:34 pm
Consider this. It takes 7,500 liters of water to make a pair of jeans. That amount of water can keep a person hydrated for seven years! While we obviously can’t stop wearing pants, it’s not often we consider the hidden costs of the things we consume. This doesn’t mean you should put a hold on any product manufacturing ideas, but you can take creative approaches and manufacturing solutions that will let you reduce your burden on the environment, and create an amazing product.
Eco-design is one of these solutions. It is a philosophy that works out all the kinks in a manufacturing process to the extent where each step of the way is as green as possible.
The best way to begin is to figure out and understand the manufacturing processes that will go into making your product, and to try and ensure you reduce any dependencies on materials and processes that hurt the environment. Sounds simplistic and rather obvious? Let’s dive deeper.
For this you must start with the concept of eco-design in mind. Eco-design is a strategy that aims to make a product last as long as possible while keeping it waste-free. The process starts with designing your product with sustainable materials, and the end goal is to keep the goods in a circular economy when your consumer is finished with them.
This means that when the product reaches the end of its natural use, it is repurposed to be used for something else. For example, there are plenty of videos on Youtube where t-shirts are turned into handbags, or stationery clips are used to keep wires from getting tangeld. The Patagonia clothing brand are also a good example of this – they ask their consumers to return any clothes they are finished with for store credit. These clothes are then refurbished and re-sold second hand.
A typical product life cycle looks like this:
Extracting raw materials → manufacturing and production → distribution → purchasing → use and maintenance → disposal
In that context, eco-design makes a lot of sense because it’s not just the end product that interacts with the environment but the entire process involved in making it.
For years, manufacturers have focused on building reliable and cost-effective products. Instead, when you try to clean up the entire life cycle of a product from raw materials to disposal, it is called product stewardship; a systematic effort to reduce risk to the environment and human health during a product’s life cycle.
Product stewardship ensures that:
You might think all of this is easier said than done but if you’re serious about the benefits of eco-friendly product manufacturing you’ll find it’s not too hard to build these steps into your workflow. The best thing about an eco-focused approach is that almost 80 percent of the impact a product will have on the environment is determined in the design phase. So, careful attention when designing your product to finding unique ways to make circular goods that are also visually-pleasing and functional is a must.
Once your design is finalized the next step is the raw materials.
After materials, it is time to look at the manufacturing process.
Marketing the product is the last part of the process that can be controlled by a manufacturer.
There are lots of advantages to going green. Apart from the fact that your product will be better for the people who use it and the environment, in some cases you might actually reduce your manufacturing costs too. Many consumers are now turning towards eco-friendly products and “voting with their wallet”, so making your products more ecologically and environmentally friendly can also help expand your customer base and be good for your bottom line.
If you need some help designing or manufacturing an eco-friendly product, give us a call on 1-888-202-2052 or fill out our quote request form for more info. We’d love to help you manufacture your product in a way that’s also good for the environment!
Jason Vander Griendt is a Mechanical Engineering Technician with years of experience working at major companies such as SNC Lavalin Inc, Hatch Ltd. Siemens and Gerdau Ameristeel. He is the CEO of JCAD – Inc., a company he started in 2006 after seeing a gap in the market for businesses who could assist clients through the entire product design and manufacturing process.
Jason has been featured in Forbes, has had his businesses analyzed and discussed in multiple start-up books, was a previous winner of the Notable8 Digital Innovator of the year award, and is a regular guest on business panels and podcasts. Email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on LinkedIn.