Design as a Source of Innovation to Establish Circular Models: An Opportunity to Prevent the Single Use of Plastic

Design as a Source of Innovation to Establish Circular Models: An Opportunity to Prevent the Single Use of Plastic

Ana Espada (IADE, Universidade Europeia, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3628-5.ch014
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The relationship between design and actual success of a business has been addressed. But the current move from linear to circular economy is establishing extraordinary parallelism, with design principles. The overall objective of this chapter is to explore when design principles, related to circular-economy concepts become a source of innovation. Design solutions can support the business transition to one which creates monetary and environmental benefits: increasing resource efficiency, maintaining the value of products, materials, and waste. Recycling has been the main strategy for plastics circular economy, but it is controversial since the industry demand is shorter than the recycled amount. Wisepack design was selected to analyse its loop slowing and closing, keeping product and material at their maximum value and functionality. Three scenarios are drafted—recycling, refilling, reuse—in order to urge designers to think about the reusable need several times before disposal, preventing the single-use of plastic.
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Recognizing the earth as a limited source of resources and energy and looking at waste as a potential and not a defeat, are the foundations of the circular economy philosophy.

Product design in particular, as well as business in general, are feeling an increasing pressure on moving from a linear to a circular approach to help reduce our global sustainability pressures (Bocken et al., 2016). Designers, innovators, and decision-makers in businesses, aim to become active actors on the necessary shift from an industry relying on fossil fuels. The selling drivers now centered on generate services that profits from the flow of resources over time, continually reuse products, materials and using renewable energy (Bakker, 2019).

To give insights into the current product design and business model strategies able to promote the shift from a linear to a circular economy approach, it is important to do a historical review of the concept of the circular economy.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Waste-Free Design: From the earliest stages of the design process, designers are thinking about solutions and material selection that, rather than being intended for disposal, should maintain their utility and value and flow back into the cycle.

Refill: This phase refers to, when the packaging is collected, not to be delivered to the company that allows the recovery of materials, such as the reintegration of the material in the manufacture of similar products – plastics processing companies. But to be delivered to, for example, a detergent manufacturer, in order to fill the packaging several times and thus extend its use and additional sale of the same product.

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