Design in the twenty-first century has drastically changed. Ever since the industrial revolution, mass production and factories have become the normal means for manufacturing almost everything. Society has become accustomed to using a product and then throwing it away. Everything from plastic utensils to clothing, designed objects these days are meant to be used and discarded.
Sustainability has become a whole new branch of design. It is a thought process that is not entirely based on consumption. Sustainable design is a way of preserving resources for future generations. Take our auto industry for example. Auto makers worldwide are making vehicles that run off of gasoline, a diminishing resource, and the gasoline being burned is in turn poisoning the environment. Many auto makers are moving to manufacture cars that run on bio-fuels or hybrid electric cars. This is a move towards sustainability. If all of the auto manufactures incorporated sustainable design into their business models, it would do the world good.
Recycling is another way of incorporating sustainability into a product. If the designer uses materials that are easily recyclable, then down the line when the product breaks/gets old/is no longer wanted it can be easily broken down and recycled. This would help to lessen our impact on the environment and conserve resources for future generations.
The dangers from being a throw away society are obvious. We need to take it upon ourselves as designers to incorporate sustainability into our work.