Abstract

This design review evaluates the use of bio-based plastics in durable consumer products. The main question is: how does the use of bio-based plastics influence the product’s design, functionality, marketing & communication, and sustainability? Although higher material prices would lead one to expect that higher value applications would be targeted, research shows bio-based plastics are mainly used in short-lived applications like packaging. This study investigates their use in durable consumer products through a design review. The results indicate that bio-based plastic usage is still in its early days in durable products. Bio-based plastics appear to be utilized as straightforward replacement of fossil-based plastic. Designers are not yet using the unique properties of bio-based plastics in the design of their products. Companies mainly exploit the green image of bio-based plastics in their marketing & communication. Their focus is on the renewable feedstock and not on sourcing, or on recovery at end-of-life.

Keywords

bio-based plastic, product design, design review, circular economy

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Conference Track

Research Paper

COinS
 
Jun 25th, 9:00 AM

Bio-based plastics in durable applications: The future of sustainable product design? A design review

This design review evaluates the use of bio-based plastics in durable consumer products. The main question is: how does the use of bio-based plastics influence the product’s design, functionality, marketing & communication, and sustainability? Although higher material prices would lead one to expect that higher value applications would be targeted, research shows bio-based plastics are mainly used in short-lived applications like packaging. This study investigates their use in durable consumer products through a design review. The results indicate that bio-based plastic usage is still in its early days in durable products. Bio-based plastics appear to be utilized as straightforward replacement of fossil-based plastic. Designers are not yet using the unique properties of bio-based plastics in the design of their products. Companies mainly exploit the green image of bio-based plastics in their marketing & communication. Their focus is on the renewable feedstock and not on sourcing, or on recovery at end-of-life.

 

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