Design of consumables in a resource-efficient economy - a literature review
Review article, 2021

Consumable products have received less attention in the circular economy (CE), particularly in regard to the design of resource-efficient products. This literature review investigates the extent to which existing design guidelines for resource-efficient products are applicable to consumables. This analysis is divided into two parts. The first investigates the extent to which general product-design guidelines (i.e., applicable to both durables and consumables) are applicable to consumables. This analysis also scrutinizes the type of recommendations presented by the ecodesign and circular product design, to investigate the novel aspects of the CE in product design. The second analysis examines the type of design considerations the literature on product-type specific design guidelines recommends for specific consumables and whether such guidelines are transferable. The analysis of general guidelines showed that, although guidelines are intended to be general and applicable to many types of products, their applicability to consumable products is limited. Less than half of their recommendations can be applied to consumables. The analysis also identified several design considerations that are transferable between product-specific design guidelines. This paper shows the importance of the life-cycle perspective in product design, to maximize the opportunities to improve consumables.

Design guidelines

Resource efficient

Product design

Circular product design






Siri Willskytt

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis


2071-1050 (ISSN)

Vol. 13 3 1-25 1036

Mistra REES – Resource-Efficient and Effective Solutions

The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra), 2016-01-01 -- 2019-12-31.

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Other Mechanical Engineering


Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance




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