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DESIGNING FOR THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY

 

2019-05-12

LÚCID DESIGN AGENCY

More and more companies are betting on the design of products that have a favourable impact on the economy, as well as on society and the environment. It is about sustainable designs, based on ecology and sustainable development that allows meeting the needs of people without compromising the future of generations and the environment.

The decisions taken at the beginning of the design of a product (we call this the VISION phase in the Lúcid design methodology) determines how it will be, what business model will drive it, what it will be based on, how many resources of the life cycle will be used and what will be the end of its useful life.

Thus, the product design process is a determining moment to lay the foundations of what will be a design that can contribute to the circular economy.

post-21-circular-economy-01 Adidas launched the Parley collection for Stella McCartney's Ocean coaches in 2015 made from plastics recovered from the sea.

ACCORDING TO STUDIES, IT IS ESTIMATED THAT 70-80% OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS ARE DETERMINED IN THE DESIGN OF THE PRODUCT.

In user-centred design, we cannot dispense with the perception of future users of the product, who are the people who will decide to consume it and will value their satisfaction with it from the moment of use.

In this sense, the stage of research and strategy with the Lúcid VISION phase is essential: studying the demands and constraints of users will make it easier to design a sustainable product, which is adaptable, provides functionality and provides the user with the power to know how to extend your life or reuse it.

post-21-circular-economy-02 LÚCID design method is designed to respect circular economy values

THE CONCEPT OF CIRCULAR ECONOMY

The global economy is weakening and disruptive technologies challenge established business models. Today there are many cities that have begun to incorporate sustainable designs into the lives of citizens to contribute to a new model based on the circular economy. But what exactly does this concept mean?

The circular economy consists of a new model of society that pursues the maximum optimization of materials and waste to achieve an improvement in environmental conditions. The world of design plays an essential role in the development of a circular economy since it is the means for the creation of new products with a positive environmental impact.

CHOICE AND SEARCH FOR SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS, AS WELL AS THE GENERATION OF LONG-LIFE PRODUCTS, ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES FOR THE WORLD OF PRODUCT DESIGN.

Iain Hill, Lúcid Business Developer for Europe, previously worked in the injection moulding industry for 10 years:

´´Back in 2004 I challenged customers to a closed-loop material solution using the polymers they had put into the market but there wasn´t many recycling centres to make it economically viable or consumer sensitivity to sustainable design”.

So today we have a real opportunity and I regularly draw attention to the Lúcid future proofing options within our VISION phase of design methodology. This is part of our B4B Spirit at Lúcid. We propose ourselves as a close and integrated partner to your organisation, we understand and share the responsibility of creating our futures.

Want to discover more about how closed-loop material solution can work with your injection moulded products? See Iain’s schedule and book a time here.

post-21-circular-economy-03 IKEA Kungsbacka is the first kitchen made of recycled plastic bottles (25 bottles per unit) and reclaimed industrial wood.

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SUSTAINABLE DESIGNS HAVE INVALUABLE SOLUTIONS FOR PEOPLE, GIVE COMPANIES A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE AND ARE REGENERATIVE FOR OUR WORLD. WHAT CHARACTERISTICS DOES A SUSTAINABLE DESIGN MEET?

A sustainable design is based on three principles: that it be manufactured with recyclable products, its durability and that it has facilities to be repaired or reused.

There are different types of safe and healthy materials that can be recycled continuously and be converted into new materials and products. Some of the most commonly used materials are bamboo, earth, linoleum, sheep wool, baked clay, OSB wood, natural paintings or kranthout.

One of the most complicated challenges facing the design world is finding a substitute for plastic. Some materials that are being analyzed according to their recycling capabilities are bio-plastic, flax fiber, coconut fiber, hemp or mushroom cultivation.

post-21-circular-economy-04 Saltwater Brewery has created rings of drink can six-packs with different products derived from the process of making beer - wheat and barley - edible by the marine fauna and thus avoid the damage caused by the plastic rings.

Thinking and looking for ways to extend the life of products is essential in sustainable design. Finding uses beyond their own life cycle or making repair and maintenance of products easy and accessible is essential if you want to build a circular economy.

In this sense, sustainable product design goes beyond durability. Sustainable design aims to empower the user and, for him, is able to carry out repairs, maintenance tasks or find new uses, even in the field of technology.

Ereuse.org is an association that works to give a second life to technologies and contribute to the circular economy, increase digital inclusion and reduce electronic waste.

According to The Circular Design Guide for a design of products that contribute to the circular economy we must:

  • Understand the nature and its cycle in order to design products that allow regeneration and that include digital systems.
  • Define the challenge, the opportunities, the business models, create a brand and look for the needs of the user.
  • Do a brainstorming, a prototype, select the materials and include the circular concept.
  • Launch and think about the product cycle, think about associations and entities to strengthen the value chain, create a product history and continue learning from sustainable and circular designs to grow and have new offers.

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