Every project should be designed for disassembly

Designing things that can easily be taken apart for repair or recycling is an old idea that's overdue for a revival, writes Sarah Templin in her essay for Core77:

Design for Disassembly (DfD) is the straightforward design method and philosophy that ensures that all elements of a product can be disassembled for repair and for "end of life." This allows for and encourages repairs, with the result that a product's life cycle is prolonged; and it allows for a product to be taken apart at the end of its life so that each component can be reclaimed as a technical nutrient (i.e. recycled) or biological nutrient (i.e. composted). Among other shifts in thinking and making, this means minimizing materials, using simple mechanical fasteners instead of adhesives, clearly labeling components with their material type, and ensuring components can be disassembled with everyday tools.

When I broke the glass vessel of my French press this weekend, I ordered a replacement vessel instead of purchasing an entirely new coffee maker. This was only possible because my French press was designed so that it could be easily disassembled. On the other hand, my electric kettle has started to leak. There are no small screws for me to open it – in fact, it's mostly glued together. This means that when I finally cave and admit that this kettle is broken, I have no way to repair it and no way to recycle its parts. In contrast to the French press, the product was not designed for disassembly. My only option is to throw it out, and to buy a new one.