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"Sustainable development" is a relative term: it is development that moves us from the present state towards a more nearly sustainable state. Thus the base-line is today's technology; the "development" refers to a change in that technology. These notes summarize the layered method for exploring proposed sustainable developments and illustrate its use in a number of worked case studies. This case study focuses on the development of beer cans and the material choice between steel and aluminum for sustainable design.