How 2023 Eco Trends Will Impact Design

As concerns about environmental sustainability continue to grow, eco trends are becoming increasingly important in the design industry. From sustainable materials to biophilic design, these trends are not only good for the planet but can also provide cost savings and improved well-being for businesses and individuals. Here’s a look at what to expect in the world of eco-friendly design in 2023 as well as some discussion of how these trends will impact design over the long term.

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Sustainable Materials

One of the biggest eco trends in design is the use of sustainable materials. This includes a wide range of options, such as recycled plastics, bamboo, and cork. These materials are not only better for the environment but can also provide cost savings in the long run.

For example, bamboo is a highly renewable resource that can be used in everything from flooring to furniture. It’s also durable and attractive, making it a popular choice for designers. Recycled plastics, on the other hand, provide an alternative to traditional plastics, which are made from non-renewable resources and contribute to pollution. By using recycled plastics, designers can reduce their environmental impact while still creating functional and stylish products.

Eco-friendly cardboard and paper products are also becoming increasingly popular in design. These materials can be used to create unique, one-of-a-kind, and beautiful designs. Plus, they’re made from renewable sources, so they won’t contribute to global warming and other environmental issues. We’ve seen cardboard being proposed for use instead of plastic can carriers, drink cartons, and more.

Recycled cardboard is increasingly used by a variety of eCommerce brands as well, as it is lightweight and cost-effective to ship. It also looks great and can be customized with a variety of finishes, making it perfect for packaging and promotional materials.

Zero Waste Design

Another trend to watch out for in 2023 is zero-waste design. This concept involves designing products and processes in such a way as to minimize waste and maximize resources. This can be achieved through techniques such as circular design, which involves creating products that can be easily repaired, reused, or recycled, and upcycling (which we’ll talk more about in just a bit).

Zero waste design not only helps to reduce environmental impact but can also save businesses money by reducing waste disposal costs. It’s a win-win for both the planet and your bottom line.

Carbon-Neutral Initiatives

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Many businesses and organizations are beginning to implement carbon-neutral initiatives as part of their design processes. This involves taking steps such as reducing emissions, improving energy efficiency, and investing in renewable sources of energy. These initiatives can help reduce a company’s carbon footprint while also providing financial benefits through cost savings.

While this isn’t a new trend, it’s one that is likely to become more important in 2023 as environmental concerns increase. It’s also a trend that can help businesses and organizations remain competitive in an ever-changing world. As for how these initiatives can impact design choices, designers will need to keep in mind the importance of sustainability and efficiency when creating products, services, and experiences.

Biophilic Design

Biophilic design is a trend that incorporates natural elements into interior spaces. This can include everything from incorporating plants and natural lighting to using natural materials such as wood and stone.

The benefits of biophilic design are numerous. It can improve air quality, reduce stress, and increase productivity and well-being. In addition, incorporating natural elements into a design can create a more welcoming and calming atmosphere, making it a popular choice for businesses and individuals alike.

We can easily see this concept translating into digital spaces as well, including websites and apps, which can use natural elements to create a more pleasant user experience. The use of natural elements in web design is already a popular trend and can include things like the use of natural textures in backgrounds like wood grain or marble. 

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is another key trend in eco-friendly design. By using energy-efficient appliances and incorporating natural ventilation, designers can reduce carbon emissions and save on energy costs.

One example of energy-efficient design is the use of solar panels. These panels use the sun’s energy to generate electricity, reducing the need for traditional sources of energy and cutting down on carbon emissions. Another option is the use of LED lighting, which uses less energy and lasts longer than traditional bulbs.

Of course, for those in the design industries (whether for digital spaces or otherwise), energy efficiency will relate directly to the design choices made. How much server power is used, for example? Are images optimized for the web? It’s important to consider these types of factors in order to reduce energy usage and costs.

Compostable Packaging and Products

The use of compostable packaging is another trend to watch for in 2023. This type of packaging can help reduce the amount of plastic waste going into landfills and oceans. Compostable packaging is made from materials that can be broken down by microorganisms in a composting facility, making it an eco-friendly alternative to plastic packaging.

As for products, some technology product makers are looking ahead to prevent their items from ending up in landfills. Though a new concept, compostable technology is certainly an emerging trend. For instance, the treed honeycomb charger is a compostable smartphone charger that comes in a variety of colors and offers wireless charging for iOS and Android devices.

Ethical Shopping Choices and Filtered Searches

A trend to watch for in 2023 is the increased use of ethical shopping choices and filtered searches. This involves making more conscious decisions when it comes to making purchases, such as choosing products made from sustainable materials and avoiding those with questionable labor practices.

Filtered searches allow shoppers to narrow down their search to products that match their ethical values. This makes it easier for consumers to make informed and responsible decisions when it comes to buying products. Bing launched its Ethical Shopping Hub in 2022 and it’s likely that more companies will follow suit in 2023.

Reusable Packaging

The use of reusable packaging is another trend to watch for in 2023. This can help reduce the amount of disposable packaging going into landfills and oceans. It’s becoming increasingly common for businesses to offer refills of products in reusable containers, as well as offer discounts to customers who bring their own reusable containers to the store.

eCommerce items being delivered in reusable packaging is another example here, as seen with companies like Loop. It’s also becoming more popular for people to purchase items in bulk, with the additional benefit of less packaging waste and fewer trips to the store.

Circular Design

Circular design is a trend to watch for in 2023. This type of design takes into consideration the entire life cycle of a product, from the materials used to its eventual disposal. By taking a holistic approach to design, the circular design aims to reduce waste and prolong the life of the product.

This type of design often incorporates modular components or the use of renewable materials, allowing the product to be easily upgraded or repaired instead of being thrown away. For example, if a part of an item were to break down or need replacing, it could be swapped out instead of the entire item needing to be replaced.

A good example is the PANGEA Mangrove Sunglasses, which will be made from the plastic that’s collected during the huge cleanup project the purchase of these glasses is funding as well as ocean-bound plastic. Plus, the purchase of these glasses funds the planting of mangrove trees. And you can get free repairs for life. The circular model truly thinks about the long-term impacts.


This type of design focuses on giving new life to old items, either by repurposing them into something new or simply making repairs to keep them in use. Upcycling is a great option for those looking to reduce their environmental impact, as it extends the life of an item and reduces waste.

As more people become aware of their environmental footprint, upcycling is becoming an increasingly popular option. A good example of this comes from the grocery industry, where companies are beginning to repurpose food scraps left over from the production process into new products, like energy bars and chips.

Even so, this concept could easily be leveraged in the design field as well, with companies offering repair services to keep items in use and out of landfill. Screen printers could use upcycled shirts. Furniture makers could repurpose wood from demolished buildings. You get the idea.

How Will Eco Trends Impact Your Designs in 2023?

These eco trends will have a major impact on design in 2023 and beyond. As more consumers become aware of their environmental footprint and the effects of their purchasing decisions, businesses will need to adjust accordingly.

Designers must be conscious of the materials they use and how long a product is likely to last, as well as looking for ways to reduce packaging waste and make products more sustainable.

By taking these eco-friendly trends into account, you can create designs that are more sustainable and better for the environment. This not only helps to reduce waste but also gives your brand a more eco-friendly reputation.  Good luck!