Copyright © A.F.Billington 2018. All rights reserved.

​​​​​​Mr BILLINGTON

When designing a product, a simple checklist can used to consider the environmental impact of a yet to be designed product, or evaluate an existing product. It is known as 'The 6 R's' and includes;


  • Reduce ​- How can the amount of materials and components in a product be reduced? Is the product really needed? 
  • Rethink - Could a less harmful alternative me designed? Is there a better was to solve the problem? 
  • Refuse - Is the packaging really required? Should you buy products that damage the environment? Is the material use suitable?
  • Recycle - Is the product made from recycled materials? Can all materials be separated? Is it easy to recycle?
  • Reuse - Could the product be used for a different application after use? Can it be disassembled and components reused?
  • Repair ​- Can the product be repaired? Has maintenance been considered? Are replacement components available?

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To allow the consumer to make informed choices about the products they buy and what to do with after its use, a number of identification symbols are used. The 'Mobius loop' ♻ is the most widely recognised symbol for recycling and its presence on a product means the material is capable of being recycled, often on plastics alongside a number. On recycled products, a percentage is added to the middle  to denote the amount that is made from recycled material

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The Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment symbol is found on all electronic devices produced after 2005. This represents the WEEEinitiative which was introduced to stop electronic products going to landfill & instead to specialised recycling facilities. It is estimated around 2 billion tonnes go to landfill every year in the UK, although a large proportion of materials used can be recycled. The symbol is found on all products with a plug or battery & the addition of a black line denotes a product manufactured after 2005. The overall aim of the initiative was for the EU to recycle 85% of electronic products sold by 2016

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​​The 'Forest Stewardship Council' (FSC) logo identifies wood-based products from well managed forests independently certified in accordance with the rules of the FSC. This is a mark of a product being made from sustainably sourced timber that has not come damaging actions such as deforestation. The symbol also covers papers and boards based on the source of the pulp fibres. There are two classifications; 100%, FSC Mix or FSC Recycled
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The 'Green Mark' is found on product packaging and identifies that the manufacturer has made a financial contribution towards the recovery and recycling of packaging. The manufacturers are charged a licensing fee to use on packaging to encourage the reduction of packaging. Often it is found in black and white to avoid clashing with packaging colours. The use of the mark is managed by PRO Europe (Packaging Recovery Organisation Europe)

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This symbol is found on aluminium products to identify the product as recyclable. A large proportion of aluminium used for new products (50%) is from recycling, requiring only 5% of the energy used to produce it. It can be repeatedly recycled and it is estimated that two-thirds of all the aluminium manufactured since commercial production started in 1886 is still in use today

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The 'Seedling' symbol is found on products that are compostable according to the European standard EN 13432/14955. This means it will fully biodegrade in an industrial composting plant under controlled conditions such as temperature, moisture and time frame – leaving nothing behind but water, biomass and CO2 .This can be found on some plastic products which are derived from corn starch, such as products made from PLA, as they can be composted alongside normal food waste


THE 3 PILLARS

Sustainability  - The 6 R's