Parallel sessions 1: Resource efficient and circular design- from niche to mainstream

The session started with Harri Moora from Stockholm Environment institute who pointed out the most important elements when it comes to policies that should support transition toward circular economy and design. These elements are :

  1. The whole life cycle of clean and clear material
  2. Design and production
  3. Policies that support long use and consumption of products
  4. High quality of recycling to allow the clean and clear material to enter product cycle
  5. Well-functioning waste material

However, there are not enough legal pressure on consumption side. There is a lack of developed legislation mainly voluntary instruments like public procurement. This is the biggest gap of the circular policies.

For the future, the new circular economy action plan will take into consideration the approach looking on the previous gapes and barriers.

He ended up by saying that “understanding the political and legal system is amongst the essential skills if you want to be successful in circular design”.

Aino Vepsälainen from design forum Finland and Ronja Scholz from technical university Berlin, talked about the importance of design for the circular transition and product and service design. To talk about circular design, we should also take into consideration sufficiency and consistency. The idea is to keep every single product and component of the material in its highest potential of the value. Products are used as long as possible, maintained, recycled and therefore, they need to be designed differently because all these procedures need different handling.

Aino added that If a product is supposed to be mainstreamed it also has to be attractive, appealing and to bring value to the customers. That cannot be achieved without good design.

Joan Prummel from Rijkswaterstaat Environment, The Netherlands, said that the aim of the design in the system is to influence the use phase by creating the proper product that can be used as long as possible and also influencing collecting and recycling industries by using the right material. A product is circular when we arrange it to be circular, designed in the right way. So, design is as important as other domains. However, a product is not circular by design but by our own behavior and what to do with it. Behavior enables circular economy.

Naoures Hmissi, ELTE university, Budapest Hungary.