Topic 1 Introduction

Did you know that according to studies, 75% of final decisions on manufacturing techniques and materials are made in the design stage?

In addition, people in the European Union generated an average of 505 kilogrammes of waste in 2020, which is 4kg more municipal waste than in 2019 and 38kg more than in 1995, based on the Eurostat. It defines municipal waste as anything collected by local authorities. This means it mainly comes from households, but also includes rubbish from shops, offices and public institutions.

Only seven EU member states created less municipal waste per person in 2020 than in 1995: Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands.

However, less waste went to the landfill sites – only 23 % that year, while in 1995 it was up to 61 %. This was partly as a result of new laws on reducing packaging and waste, and on cutting the level of biodegradable waste going to landfill sites.

At the same time, recycling almost tripled in the EU, rising to 241kg per person in 2020 from 37kg in 1995.

Look at the video below on eco-design by Alstom:


After watching the video on eco-design by Alstom, try to answer the following questions:

🡪What is one item which you use in your everyday life that is unsustainable in terms of eco-design principles (e.g., it is environmental unfriendly)?

🡪Do you think your country is rich in the natural resources? If yes, which ones?

🡪What is the status of the use of the renewable energy sources in your country and/or city?

ECO DESIGN aims on how to limit the environmental impact of the products at their design stage.

Based on Ellen MacArthur Foundation, design is: “the process by which we create things, services, and systems, as well as the mechanism by which we modify the material environment around us to satisfy our wants and needs. And, when something is created, crucial decisions are made that influence how it is built, how it is utilized, and what happens when it is no longer required or desired”. Meaning, that in the circular economy mindset we try to “design out waste and pollution.”

  • the minimize of resource consumption and generation of waste;
  • optimize of production and logistics and reduce pollution/emissions as a result;
  • extend product lifespan;
  • repurpose products at the end-of-life stage, reusing waste;
  • encourage local production;
  • be cost-saving and have higher profits.