Using recycled materials in sustainable product design

Sustainability has become a buzzword in today’s society, and for good reason. The world is becoming more environmentally conscious, and industries are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Industrial product design is no exception, with more companies adopting the use of recycled materials for their products. But why is this becoming a trend? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using recycled materials? This blog post aims to shed light on the miracle of recycled materials and how they are becoming the new norm in industrial product design.

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Quality of recycled materials

One of the main concerns many companies have when it comes to using recycled materials is their quality. However, over the years, they have undergone significant improvements in their quality making them a viable alternative to virgin materials. There are all kinds of high-quality options such as post-consumer plastics, recycled metal, glass, paper, and more, at ManGo Product Design we have a network of suppliers to utilize. The quality of recycled materials depends on the source and the process used to recycle them. Post-consumer plastics may be degraded in quality with increased use, as they are exposed to environmental factors such as sunlight and heat; however, with proper processing, the material can still be used in a variety of applications.

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Upcycling and downcycling 

One of the primary advantages of using recycled materials is the positive impact on the environment. It reduces the need for new materials and minimizes the energy required to extract, process, and manufacture products. Upcycling and downcycling are two different processes of recycling, and both processes have different impacts on the quality of the material. Upcycling is a process of converting waste materials into products of higher value or quality than the original material. Downcycling is a process of converting waste materials into products of lower quality than the original material. Downcycling often involves materials being converted to forms that cannot be recycled repeatedly, such as polyesters, which degrade during recycling.

Availability 

Recycled materials are widely available worldwide, many countries now have recycling plants. However, the availability of recycled materials depends on the location, local initiatives, and government initiatives to promote recycling. Some countries have strict recycling laws that enforce the use of recycled materials, while others lack proper recycling facilities, and this often makes it harder for our product designers to find suitable recycled material suppliers. What does help is that there are certification programs to ensure that these sustainable materials meet specific quality standards and traceability requirements.

Choosing a supplier

It is always wise to consider your recycled material source and the recycling processes used to create the material. Checking the source of the recycled material can also ensure that the material does not include harmful substances. Choosing a reliable supplier and ensuring their materials are of top quality can prevent problems and ensure that there is no impact on your product’s quality. At ManGo we work with reliable suppliers from around the globe who can be utilized for your product development process. Another crucial factor to consider is the surge in the popularity of using recycled materials, leading to shortages. Therefore, it is essential to have multiple suppliers or ensure that your product can also be made with virgin materials to mitigate any potential supply chain issues.

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Pros and cons of using recycled materials 

The use of recycled materials presents several benefits. Most significantly, it reduces waste, carbon footprint and overall environmental impact. Potentially it can also reduce manufacturing costs. Aside from these benefits, there are also some drawbacks. For one, the quality of recycled materials may not always be consistent, mainly if recycled and mixed with different sources. Other than that, availability can be an issue, limited color options and their use is restricted in several product categories such as food packaging and medical devices. ManGo can help you navigate making the correct choices if you have the desire for using recycled materials in your product.  

Conclusion 

In conclusion, the use of recycled materials in sustainable product design is a trend that is here to stay. It is an opportunity to protect our environment, reduce costs and build a meaningful brand. However, it is important to note that there are concerns to be addressed when it comes to the quality of these materials, regulatory requirements and their availability in some regions of the world. At ManGo Product Design we can assist you in making the right choices for your product development.  

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