Beautifully lit, for life

August 10, 2022, by Andrew Kilborn

What’s the problem?

The world has pressing environmental and societal problems, like pollution and global warming.

But the problem is much wider than this. We live in an increasingly unstable world caused by extreme inequality, both within individual countries, and, even more starkly, between the developed and developing world.

One important contributor to the problem is the single use of virgin materials.

The role of virgin materials

Most manufactured products use finite virgin materials such as copper or oil.

In developed countries we use virgin materials thoughtlessly. Our rampant single-use consumerism extracts virgin materials from the land and sea, which we then process into single-use products such as takeaway cartons or light fittings, before disposing them in recycling or landfill.

There is a huge environmental cost to this throwaway consumerism. And there is a further cost to developing countries. Virgin materials are scarce. Every time the developed world uses finite virgin materials, we drive up the price, making them less affordable, ultimately restricting the developing world’s ability to progress.

The extraction and processing of virgin materials is increasing inequalities across the world, as well as being perhaps the largest cause of environmental degradation.

How did we get here?

The race to become wealthier and satisfy immediate consumer needs has meant that we, in the developed world, have moved from a repair model to a short-term, throwaway consumer mentality.

We use a product once and then throw it away. This has suited manufacturers as well as consumers. Manufacturers like this linear throwaway manufacturing model as they can sell more products – made cheaply overseas – to consumers who are addicted to cheap sticker prices.

The problem is that the planet and poorer countries are paying the price.

The washing machine example

Consumers will often purchase a new washing machine, for example, based on a low sticker purchase price. Manufacturers then design to that price, producing models that won’t last as long, and aren’t easily repaired. We use the machine for a short period, say two to three years, then dispose of the product into landfill, before buying another equally throwaway replacement.

What is the circular model?

The circular model recognises that we must value virgin materials and not treat them as single-use materials.

In practice this means using less virgin materials when manufacturing products, but more importantly, designing products to last much longer, with spare parts and which are fully repairable.

The aim is that the materials have a longer life and that the materials re-enter the cycle when no longer needed, meaning we use less virgin materials.

In what way are Orluna’s products circular?

All Orluna products are circular:
– Less virgin materials in primary manufacture
– 20-year spare parts and repair
– End-of-life service where we take back fittings, repair and test returned products so that they can go back into standard stock.

We at Light House Designs are very proud to partner with responsible manufacturers such as those with continued commitment to sustainability and creating a circular economy within the lighting industry, this ethical approach is aligned with our beliefs and our customers desires to ensure a sustainable future.