Recycled Materials

A large proportion of products are already produced from materials that are theoretically recyclable, but very few are actually recycled. This is partly due to a lack of infrastructure, but also due to the lack of demand of recycled materials. Designers should investigate the availability of recycled materials and specify them in the design where possible. Ideally, a system will be designed to recycle the companies own products at end of life, for manufacture into new products, thus avoiding contamination with other products and saving the company waste disposal and material costs.

Pros: Reduces amount of waste going to landfill and avoids the use of virgin materials. Recycled materials can have lower embodied energy than virgin equivalents
Cons: Material recycled with other slightly different materials will be reduced in quality, resulting in downcycling. After several cycles the material will be useless and require disposal.
Pros: As part of a closed loop cycle within the business, can save waste disposal and material costs
Cons: Supplies of recycled materials can be limited, and may therefore be more expensive than virgin material