:: Specific Design Brief

LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY
: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

LU 6: REUSING MATERIALS - AVOIDING LANDFILL - further information

PRODUCT DESIGN UK - ISSUES

Recycled polymer materials

Plastics are extensively recycled in many countries, with 41% of households in the UK having access to plastics recycling facilities. But what can we do with all this recycled material? Few companies are currently using recycled plastics for anything but very low grade products, yet there is huge potential. 

An example is the millions of polypropylene sacks, which are discarded every year and currently landfilled. Such sacks are used to carry significant loads eg as the letters and parcels to be delivered by The Post Office and other companies, and for the delivery of building sand. When postal sacks are worn out they are discarded, and the bags used for sand deliveries are typically used only once. Because they are woven fibres, the materials are difficult to recycle, but they remain strong textile-like materials.

Interesting examples of designs made from recycled materials can be found at http://www.designresource.org. These designs were entered by school, college, university and professional designers in the IDRA competitions, which have been run since 1995.


Some issues that the design must address

the design should use the materials essentially in the form in which they are found
the designs should target markets which might use significant quantities of materials e.g house and garden products, sporting equipment etc
acceptable styling for UK households
acceptable cost to UK households based on market research concerning competing products
design suitable for UK manufacture
appropriate selection of any additional materials used in order to make eventual disassembly and recycling of the product straightforward