Design for Disassembly and Recycling
I read about design for disassembly in buildings a while back and it had slipped my mind until I came across another instance of it this week. I stumbled across a tutorial by Autodesk about how to design for disassembly (see the video here) and learned that it is not only buildings that are being thought of in this manner. Before I get ahead of myself though, I will clarify what “Design for Disassembly,” actually means.
As I said, the first time I came across this terminology was in relation to architectural design and it dealt with designing and constructing buildings in a way that would allow for (relatively) simple recovery of valuable and recyclable building components when the building was no longer in commission. It is a type of end-of-life management designed to ensure beneficial reuse of building materials such as steel.
What I learned in the video from Autodesk, though, is that many things, not just buildings, can be designed for disassembly. Anything from laptops to cell phones to motor engines can be designed with the end-of-life fully taken into account. As you can see if you watch their video, the key is to design things with a few key specifications in mind. For example:
1) Design products that use a minimum number of parts, the let individual parts an item has the easier it will be to take it apart when it has reached the end of its life.
2) Use common and similar fasteners so disassembly can be done with just a few tools.
3) Avoid glues.
4) Include instructions for disassembly with your product.
By designing for disassembly, we can help to both make repairing products easier and make recycling faster and more efficient. Additionally, simpler recycling generally leads to people recycling more and since many electronics also include some hazardous components we can help keep those elements out of landfills!
What do you think of the concept of designing for disassembly?
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