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Environmental design and sustainable manufacturing are crucial for paving a green path for future generations. The concept of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) emphasizes that companies should base their operations on environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and good governance, ensuring long-term value and sustainable development. Promoting this mindset positively impacts the next generation.  Hence I would like to share my thought below on how environmental design, 3D printing technology, and the concept of upcycling can come across each and help create and contribute a greener and more sustainable world.

 

Principles of Environmental Design:

1.      Reducing Resource Consumption:

  • Consider environmental impact during the product design phase to optimize design and reduce resource usage during 3D printing.

  • Select environmentally friendly or recyclable printing materials if plastics is required, such as ABS, PLA, PETG etc.

2.      Minimizing Waste Generation:

  • Design products with their lifecycle in mind, ensuring they are easy to recycle and reuse, which could be applicable on 3D printed furniture and trade show booth.

3.      Eco-friendly Manufacturing Methods:

  • Adopt energy-efficient processes and equipment to lower energy consumption during manufacturing, such as addictive manufacturing.

  • Implement green supply chain management, focusing on environmental protection from raw material procurement to production and sales (Imagine you only create the product on-demand by utilising the 3D printing speed!).

 

Applications of 3D Printing Technology:

1.      Customized Production:

  • 3D printing enables customized production based on demand, reducing excess inventory and waste.

  • Precisely control material usage, adding material only where necessary, thereby minimizing resource waste.

2.      Use of Sustainable Materials:

  • Use biodegradable plastics or recyclable metals, reducing dependence on limited resources.

3.      Energy Savings:

  • Compared to traditional cutting and machining processes, 3D printing significantly reduces energy consumption.

  • Optimize printing parameters and layering processes to further enhance energy efficiency.


Upcycling in 3D Printing:

The concept of upcycling- repurposing waste materials into new, higher-value products—can be seamlessly integrated with 3D printing to enhance sustainability efforts. Here’s how:

1.      Material Reclamation:

  • Collect plastic waste, such as discarded 3D printed furniture, and melt them back into 3D printing filament.

2.      Design Innovation:

  • Utilize upcycled materials to create new products that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing or even transform into a bespoke art

  • Encourage designers to innovate with upcycled materials, fostering a culture of creativity and sustainability.

3.      Circular Economy:

  • Promote a circular economy by designing 3D printed products that can be easily disassembled and recycled into new filament or components.

  • Implement take-back programs where consumers can return used 3D printed items for recycling and upcycling.

4.      Community Engagement:

  • Collaborate with schools and universities to incorporate upcycling and 3D printing into their curriculum, inspiring the next generation of innovators.

 

By combining the three key pillars - environmental sustainability, innovative drive, and social value - I believe the "Recyclable 3D Printed Capsule Booth" proposal will have a positive impact on the next generation:

  • Health and Quality of Life:

  • Reduce environmental pollution and resource waste, improving overall living environment quality.

  • Enhance daily life health and comfort through environmentally designed and upcycled products.

 

Case Study: Recent ESG Issues and Their Association

By considering the recent situation of the fashion industry’s environmental impact, some FMCG companies have faced significant backlash due to their unsustainable practices, which include excessive water usage, chemical pollution, and massive production waste. Hence they are starting to explore how addictive manufacturing could be adopted in their value or even supply chains


One prominent example is Adidas' partnership with Parley for the use of Oceans Plastic, in which Adidas has been using 3D printing to produce shoe parts made from recycled ocean plastic waste. This not only diverts plastic pollution from the environment but also reduces the need for virgin plastic materials. Recently, Adidas has announced that 96% of polyester used in its products is now recycled polyester and sets sights on early achievement of 2024 commitment – to replace all virgin polyester with recycled.

 

Conclusion

To wrap up, Design technology, 3D printing, and upcycling play crucial roles in promoting environmental design and sustainable manufacturing. These technologies help reduce resource consumption and environmental pollution, ultimately creating a greener and more sustainable future for the next generation.


Author: Mr. Daric Li (Email: daric.li@starzorigin.com), Certified ESG Planner, ICSD

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