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Material Matters: Material Selection for Sustainable New Product Development

More and more brands are making sustainability a top priority when designing new products. As a result, the demand for eco-friendly materials continues to rise and thus the importance of material selection has become even more crucial to the product design. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of material selection when designing and making new products and highlight some considerations to ensure sustainability remains the center focus.

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1. Understanding Sustainable Materials:

Firstly, when starting new product development, it is critical that you have a solid understanding of the specific sustainable materials you have in mind. For example, it’s limitations and functionality. Such materials may be renewable, recycled or biodegradable. You must first understand their properties, benefits, limitations as well as their potential applications before moving onto the design.


2. Lifecycle Assessment:

Conduct a comprehensive lifecycle assessment to evaluate the environmental impact of different materials. Consider factors like raw material extraction, manufacturing processes, product use, and end-of-life disposal. Look for materials that have a lower environmental footprint throughout their lifecycle, ensuring a more sustainable overall impact.


4. Performance and Functionality:

While sustainability is crucial, it should not overshadow the performance and functionality of the product. Choose materials that not only meet sustainability criteria but also provide the necessary durability, safety, and functionality required for the intended purpose of the houseware product. Strive for a balance between sustainability and performance.


5. Supplier Engagement:

Collaborate with suppliers who share your commitment to sustainability. Engage in transparent conversations about their material sourcing practices, certifications, and adherence to ethical and environmental standards. Establish long-term partnerships with suppliers who can consistently provide sustainable materials for your product development needs.


6. Certification and Standards:

Consider incorporating certifications and standards into your material selection process. Certifications like Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), or Cradle to Cradle can provide credibility and assurance of sustainable sourcing and manufacturing practices. These certifications can amplify the sustainability credentials of your houseware products.


7. Consumer Education and Communication:

Educate consumers about the sustainable materials used in your houseware products. Clearly communicate the environmental benefits and the positive impact their purchase can have on the planet. Transparently share information about the materials' origins, recyclability, and proper disposal methods to encourage responsible consumer behavior.


Material selection is a powerful lever in the pursuit of sustainable new product development. By carefully considering the environmental impact of materials and prioritizing sustainability throughout the process, companies can create houseware products that are not only functional and appealing but also aligned with the values of conscious consumers.


At FSE we have extensively researched new and sustainable materials. Let's have a chat about how we can assist you bring your product idea to life.


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