There is a growing awareness by individuals, businesses, and governments of the need to protect our environment. Since most pollution is generated through manufacturing activities, this is the logical starting point to implement pollution prevention methodologies. With this realization, in 1992 a few electronics firms originated the concept of design for environment (DFE).
There is a close analogy between DFE and design for quality. People realize that quality must be designed into the product; therefore, it is not difficult to understand that inspecting the end of the pipeline is not a cost effective way to eliminate pollution. DFE is a methodology for developing environmentally compatible products and processes, while maintaining desirable product price/performance and quality characteristics.
Because DFE is a relatively new concept, many engineers are not aware of the design aids that are available even though they are being asked to design green products. To address this problem, this paper discusses some of the tools that are available today: guidelines, checklists, matrices, and life cycle assessment models.