Topic of the practice
The Public Waste Agency of Flanders (OVAM) is trying to find sustainable solutions to manage the waste accumulated in Flanders each year. OVAM collaborated with Design Flanders – the Flemish agency for design promotion - to create the Ecolizer. The Ecolizer aimed to help designers create more environmentally friendly products by providing knowledge on eco-design. The final product, Ecolizer 2.0, conveys complex academic content on colored flashcards joined in one corner to form a fan-like design.
Good Practice Information
To manage waste in Flanders OVAM launched a series of sustainable solutions. Collaboration with the relevant sector was important in developing the initiatives as well as the creative techniques used by designers. OVAM chose to work with Design Flanders in two initiatives: the Ecodesign Awards PRO and the Ecolizer. The Award intends to encourage designers and design students in the field of product development to integrate environmental criteria into their designs. The Ecolizer 2.0 was developed to help designers create more environmentally friendly products by making eco-design more accessible during the initial design phases. The Ecolizer 2.0, conveys complex academic content on brightly coloured flashcards joined in one corner in a fan-like design. It is easily accessible and quick to use in any design process and helps to incorporate environmental criteria into innovative products. The idea behind the Ecolizer originated from the fact that despite the wealth of academic information and software on
eco-design, it is rarely applied by Flemish designers or businesses.The first Ecolizer was developed in 2005 for designers and product manufacturers as an introduction to eco-design and Life Cycle Thinking, and as a tool to assess the environmental impact of their products. It was only available in Dutch. Four years on, an update was needed. In developing the new version, OVAM surveyed those 500 designers and companies who had employed the first Ecolizer in their projects. From this emerged the need for a digital version of the tool and for more detailed workshops and case studies. The Ecolizer 2.0, available in English, was launched in 2010.The Ecolizer 2.0 employs an updated set of eco-indicators based on the ‘ReCiPe’ method rather than the previous eco-indictor ’99 methodology. This new method is still used to express the environmental impact of the production materials and all the subsequent stages in one eco-indicator number so a designer can assess the sustainability of a creation in a quality score.
Evidence of success
With the Ecolizer 2.0, OVAM introduces a scientifically based tool that contributes to increasing the eco-friendliness of any product design. Although it is not possible to assess how often or how successfully the Ecolizer is used by its target group, several prominent Flemish designers have referred to the Ecolizer when asked about how they apply ecodesign. To maintain the relevance of the project OVAM intends to update the Ecolizer every three years.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Design Wales / UWIC
Annex completed on: 04-01-2011