In pursuit of coping mechanisms for the challenges of sustainable manufacturing, systematic methods have been developed to allow engineers to improve the ratio between products’ utility and environmental impact. These necessary efforts remain however limited if the surrounding production and consumption practices are not called into question at the same time. This article introduces open source product development as a potential approach for unlocking the limits of existing sustainable product design practices and to lead towards alternative and eco-efficient production and consumption practices termed as participative production. First, it discusses the potential advantages of this emerging practice in terms of environmental sustainability. Second, it provides a screened qualitative environmental analysis of 18 exemplary open source hardware products. Specific sustainable design principles implemented by these products are highlighted and discussed in order to identify challenges for further common research in the field of open source and sustainable product development.