Design for the Environment

Topics: ISO 14000, Recycling, Waste management Pages: 7 (2120 words) Published: September 3, 2013
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An approach to achieve the ISO 14000 international standardization Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
Keywords ISO 14000, Design, Environment, International standards, Product life cycle Abstract It is proposed that by adopting design for the environment (DFE) principles, US companies can easily comply with the environmental portion of the International Standards Organization (ISO) 14000 standards and become competitive in today's global market. DFE concepts present unique challenges to designers and introduce significant changes in the company's market share and profitability without sacrificing sustainable development. The design engineers must ask and answer questions about the life cycle of the product and its production process. Their goal is reducing overall production costs and environmental impact of waste production and disposal by optimizing energy and material consumption, minimizing waste generation, or by reusing process output waste streams as raw materials for other processes. Application of DFE principles in the first stages of process design can change a product life cycle by not only reducing overall cost, but also the environmental impact of production and disposal.

Design for the environment (DFE)
M. DeMendonca and T.E. Baxter Ë

Design for the environment (DFE) 51

Introduction The International Standards Organization (ISO) has initiated proactive environmental practices as a requirement for conducting business overseas with the release of ISO 14000 standards. Market forces are driving US companies to adopt ISO standards. The extent of worldwide participation on ISO environmental standards is a prime motivation for businesses of all sizes to conform to these standards as a condition for international trade. The ISO 14000 series contains voluntary environmental management standards and guidelines that require a commitment to practice pollution prevention and supports a proactive design concept at very basic levels of production. The ISO 14000 standard will quickly become the common standard among international corporations as a result of the world's market rapidly moving towards globalization. Many experts predict that the adoption of these standards will bring immense benefits such as: broadening market access, reducing liability, expediting permits, reducing record keeping, need for fewer inspections, improving public acceptance of product, decreasing pollution, conserving energy or natural resources, reducing control costs, etc. (Philip and Willig, 1997). Nevertheless, ISO 14000 implementation will be, for many, a long adaptation process. Companies very often overlook wasteful operations because they fall within limits of current industrial practice. The lack of awareness is the major limiting factor for an effective manufacturing process. Design engineers and

Environmental Management and Health, Vol. 12 No. 1, 2001, pp. 51-56. # MCB University Press, 0956-6163

EMH 12,1


business personnel often lack the necessary skills to identify potential sources of waste early in the product design stage. Waste is generated at all stages of production, product use, and disposal. Despite continued efforts, industrial generated waste still accounts for 98 percent of the total waste generated on the entire product life cycle (Billatos and Basaly, 1997). In traditional manufacturing engineering, the design engineer considers the cost and availability of materials without any relationship with environmental impacts of the product and manufacturing process. At the end, the engineer would identify permits, and establish a system for monitoring and disposing of the end-of-pipe manufacturing wastes. Consequently, regulatory agencies exercise their command-and-control or...
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