Howtorecycle.it: Designing a System to Empower Consumers to Become More Involved in the End-of-Life of Commodity-Grade Appliances
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The United States currently recycles only 34% of the municipal waste that it produces, with some materials such as plastics having only a 7.6% rate of recycling (EPA 2011). Two contributors to low recycling rates are lack of information and confusion among consumers (Earth911 2012). Also, recycling materials from many designed-fordisassembly products may require multiple steps, special procedures, special tools, or special facilities (Boothroyd and Alting 1992). Current systems available for product labeling, and information barely scratch the surface when it comes to providing adequate information and involving consumers. While simultaneously, commodity-grade appliances—due to the lack of design considerations for their end-of-life—provide ample opportunity for increasing recyclability. Therefore, the purpose of this project is to design a system to empower consumers to become more involved in the end-of-life of their commoditygrade appliances. The objectives of this project were accomplished through the development of a three-part system. The system is comprised of improved product labeling, an information source in the form of a website, and a redesigned commodity-grade coffee maker aimed at consumer disassembly.