April 22, 2018 4:58 pm

Earth Day is the perfect time to reflect on one’s own personal impact on the environment. As inventors, there is a possibility that the products we create have an effect on our planet. You may be wondering how to produce a more environmentally friendly product. Packaging, product materials, and manufacturing all have the potential to make a difference. Aside from the ethical reasons, certain markets could be more likely interested in a product if it is eco-friendly. If you are an inventor seeking environmental responsibility and more ethical creation of inventions, these tips could help you this Earth Day.

Bioplastics

Plastic has one of the most damaging effects on the environment. The material is almost impossible to break down, and products not able to be recycled end up polluting our oceans. The production of plastic includes chemical additives that are also harmful to humans. Luckily, bioplastics could be a solution for new inventions and products.

Bioplastic is a biodegradable plastic developed from biological substances, rather than petroleum. By choosing to make a product out of bioplastics, inventors are helping reduce the amount of plastic that is currently overwhelming the ocean.  Some products already using the new eco-friendly plastic include cups, home and business products, and more. If you are looking to reduce plastic with your invention, consider bioplastics. 

Packaging Without the Footprint

Many consider packaging to be an important part of a product. The truth is, certain inventions could potentially benefit from opting out of packing or by using alternative packaging that is eco-friendly. If you are considering going packaging-free, it may help adding your logo to the design of the actual product itself. This way, customers will be able to identify your invention without the packaging. Opting out of packaging could save you a dime, and could even help save the Earth.

More alternatives include the use of recycled paper materials as packaging. Again, plastic is harmful to the environment, so using recycled paper can help reduce your product’s eco footprint. Often times, packaging is thrown away almost immediately after use, so don’t forget to include a friendly message reminding your consumers to recycle their packaging prior to purchase. 

Eco-Friendly Manufacturing

An important part of bringing your invention to the shelf is manufacturing. As an inventor, you may be curious as to how choosing a manufacturer has an effect on the environment. In reality, manufacturers can do a lot of damage to the environment if they are not responsible.

So, how can you tell if a manufacturer is eco-friendly? Well, one possibility is if they are utilizing renewable energy sources, such as sunlight and wind. Second, a manufacturer can reduce their waste by recycling un-used scraps and even donating what they have not used. Lastly, a manufacturer can save water by implementing a more efficient water conservation program. If you still are not positive, some factories and manufacturers may have certifications for being environmentally friendly, so don’t be afraid to ask!

Recyclable & Reusable

One of the easiest ways to make your product more environmentally friendly is by making the invention reusable. If a consumer is likely to get frequent uses out of one product, then this allows for less waste, since he or she will not be throwing out the product after a single use. A good start is by making your product more durable and sturdy. If you must use plastic, design the product to withstand the test of time.

Of course, not every single invention is capable of being reusable. If this is the case, use recyclable materials instead. Do your research on what can and can not be recycled. Lastly, be sure to remind your customers to recycle with a friendly message.

Bonus: Factories that pay fair wages to workers

Poor working conditions in factories are a major social problem in countries around the world. In these factories, workers are not given proper breaks, proper pay, proper safety, and often times face death just by attending work. Although these factories may come at a cheaper rate, it is at the cost of individuals suffering in these conditions. Before choosing to manufacture elsewhere, do your research! Be sure the factory has high safety standards, decent hours and livable wages for employees.

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