The focus of this paper is to present life-cycle assessment (LCA) of a TV/VCR remote, including alkaline batteries, and to compare the environmental impacts with a redesigned remote consisting of a solar cell. LCA is a very helpful tool in identifying the most important factors for improving product sustainability. The remote considered in this study can control both television and video cassette recorder. This remote is manufactured in Malaysia and exported to the United States. Its life-cycle system includes raw material, parts, shipment, use phase and waste treatment; its life-cycle impact assessment (LCIA) is performed using SimaPro 7.1 and employing the TRACI method. LCA uncertainty analyzing is performed for both remotes utilizing Monte Carlo simulation in SimaPro 7.1.
LCA result shows use of alkaline battery affects most obviously in environmental impacts. In Eco-design remote model, both energy type and raw materials changed. Environmental impacts reduce in five categories in redesigned remote. This paper: 1) presents a prototype design for product using solar cell; 2) presents a novel method for designers to determine raw materials to improve product sustainability in designing stage; 3) provides suggestions for manufacturers to improve product sustainability through reuse of solar cell or a leasing strategy.