Industrial Undo: Design for Recycling


WorldChanging has a nice post, “Pop Goes the Cell Phone” (Link), that I very much enjoyed reading. For all the industrial designers out there (*raises hand*) who have submitted product designs for competition with fanciful creative writing explaining how the product entry was *cough* designed for recyclability, this one will interest you. Well, that is if you felt at all bad about the load of crap you tried to pass off as a sincere effort. Personally I don’t even know why the competitions bother to ask the question. It’s not as if industrial designers in general have any real control over how a corporation is going manufacture a product. We can make suggestions for things like better materials, but when the people managing purchases of bulk raw materials flash the savings of using a nasty material in easy-to-read monetary figures, you tell me how many corporations are going to suck it up for the environment.

Anyway, to give you a taste, here’s an excerpt from the entry:

Nokia has prototyped a cell phone that pops itself apart in two seconds, as opposed to the two minutes normally required for manual disassembly. Their diagram shows how they use shape memory alloy springs to push apart the snap-together plastic case and pop the circuit board off, use shape memory polymer screws which lose their threading, and use shape memory polymer screw bosses which expand to release the now unthreaded screws.

That’s some cool stuff. And you might want to check out the sites and videos they link to as well. I’ve only visited one site and watched one video, but I intend to visit and watch them all. The more information I have, the more I’ll hopefully be able to influence some of those manufacturing decisions.

{Image Source: Active Disassembly Research Ltd.}