Category

Sustainability

Upcyling: Cool New Products Made From Reused Materials

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With consumers becoming more conscious of eco-friendly products and production, more companies are offering goods that have been upcycled—made from byproducts or unwanted materials that have been creatively reused. A phrase coined by William McDonough in one of my favorite books aptly titled, “The Upcycle,” Upcycling is a great way to practice sustainability, and in some cases, it even results in better supply-chain methods. From home furnishings to clothing and jewelry to the upholstery on car seats, upcycled products are available in a wide range of markets, and knowing about them can help you become a smarter consumer. Here are…

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Lighting has come a long way: Plumen low-energy light bulbs.

LED Luminaries: New and Improved Energy-Efficient Lighting

By | DFL Philosophy, Sustainability | No Comments

When energy-saving lighting first hit the market, many of them were less than luminary in terms of style and cost-not to mention that ghastly glow. But awareness around efficiency has spread, even at the mass level: In 2012, the Montreal hockey arena, Bell Centre, replaced its old bulbs with 140 LEDs. The same year, New York City’s Central Park completed a massive installation of 1,600 LEDs. Companies have developed better energy-efficient alternatives for the home, too. The British company Plumen, for example, offers high-design, low-energy light bulbs, pendants, chandeliers, and shades at affordable prices. (They ship to the U.S. with…

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A Beacon for Learning: Repurpose School Bags

By | DFL Philosophy, Sustainability | No Comments

                                                                            Faced with the problems of both plastic waste proliferating in her neighborhoods and the lack of book bags for the local children, social entrepreneur Thato Kgatlanye set out to create a business that addressed these in a way that could make a difference as well as a profit. What emerged was Repurpose Schoolbags, a company with a product that uses recycled plastic…

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Adidas x Parley for the Oceans: From Trash to Trainers

By | DFL Philosophy, Retail & Marketing, Sustainability | No Comments

The subject of raw materials vs. recycled materials is a constant debate in product development. Many times the cost of recycled material is higher on paper than using raw material, which can push companies to use new resources to maintain a better margin. But what happens when the value of using recycled materials goes beyond the bottom line and starts positively impacting the world? Shoemaker Adidas teamed up with Parley for the Oceans to address this very issue. Parley is an organization which is dedicated to the preservation of the oceans through clean up initiatives, awareness campaigns, and partnerships with…

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Designed for Life: Let’s Build Something That Lasts.

By | DFL Philosophy, Sustainability | No Comments

Welcome to Designed For Life, an organization created to enable people to buy less by inspiring companies to create better. We are a group of designers, entrepreneurs, and consumers that work together to make this vision a reality. But what makes something Designed for Life? It’s a combination of sustainability, adaptability, and utility that gives a product a lifespan as long as ours. Hopefully longer. Planned obsolescence is an outdated business model and we’re here to offer a better way.” Nothing Lasts Forever. But let’s build things that can. At today’s rate of population and industry growth, it’s apparent that…

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The Piano Chair: You Gotta Know When to Fold ‘Em.

By | DFL Philosophy, Sustainability | No Comments

Designing a product that is functional, desirable, and attractive while at the same time having a minimal impact on the environment is no easy task. It’s not as simple as making a beautiful product with recyclable materials and calling it a day. The entire production process can be refined to minimize waste, pollution, and extend the life of the product. It also needs to utilize reusable materials for after the product is no longer needed. One of the winners of this year’s Cradle to Cradle Product Design Competition personifies the ethos of a product that is conscious of the environment and…

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Small is Beautiful

By | DFL Philosophy, Sustainability | No Comments

Reading Shawn’s post about Natural Capitalism, recalled to me where I first met the ideas that he and I have discussed at length, among them the bad accounting that lies at the heart of the current crisis of capitalism. A crisis that we both believe did not have to be, and certainly not to be as bad. We will talk more of accounting and systems of survival, of how growth in debt requires that we pursue infinite growth on a finite planet (and even through the universe [and, yes, the answer of cornucopians]). Oh, tales of energy and entropy will we…

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Unsustainability Stems From Bad Accounting

By | Sustainability, Uncategorized, Vlog Posts | No Comments

One of my top 3 most inspiring books of all time is: Natural Capitalism, by Paul Hawken. This book played a huge role in the development of the Designed For Life philosophy, as well as in shaping my own life and behaviors. It is the subject if my most recent CEO blog post for #TextbookTuesday, where I discuss the content of whatever I’m reading at the time. Natural Capitalism is the kind of book that leaves the reader forever changed. This book is not just a bleeding-heart pleading with society to live better. It is both a rigorous empirical study…

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Buy Less, Buy Better

By | DFL Philosophy, Sustainability, Vlog Posts | No Comments

Recycle. Compost. Separate our trash. Buy local. Buy organic. Use public transit. Go solar. Go diesel. Go electric. Go chemical free. Use motion-switched lighting. Don’t use lighting. Shop vintage. Re-use. Re-purpose. Grow your own. Eat no beef. Just don’t eat…. There are myriad ways that we should all live better. Its exhausting. But we are believers, so we fight the fight. This week’s “Sustainable Saturday” Get Off the Couch vlog post shares one key way that we can quite easily live a bit more sustainably: Buy less, and buy better. While there are lots of ways to interpret “buy better,”…

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