Beyond the product lifecycle: from product life to material life

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Abstract
The concept of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) is of increasing interest to government, industry and researchers. Strategies and actions to improve product lifespans is just one of many contributions that design is investigating as a part of the SCP agenda. Drawing examples from the consumer electronics sector, this paper considers the likely effectiveness of product lifespan strategies to mitigate environmental and social impacts. It argues that behavioural and structural obstacles, which lay behind product obsolescence, can undermine design for product lifespan strategies. By shifting emphasis from design for product life to design for material life, many of these behavioural and structural obstacles could be avoided. The imperative shifts from prolonging product life to prolonging material life (the stuff from which products are made of), in the consumption production economy. This can be achieved, in part, by building new alliances with the growing de-manufacturing sector opening up new possibilities for design innovation. Material lifespan strategies are surveyed with specific reference to the consumer electronics sector. Design for material life could effectively tackle escalating consumption, especially in fast growing sectors such as consumer electronics goods.
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Park, Miles
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Publication Year
2006
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Conference Paper
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download Wonderground-Park.pdf 187.75 KB Adobe Portable Document Format
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