Month: January 2021

  • 22 January 2021

    SDGs and CE

    English Version The article is based on Enrico Giovannini’s intervention at the second edition of Re-think-Circular Economy Forum last October 2020. Sustainable Development and Circular Economy: the new paradigm for the European Union – Enrico Giovannini, Founder and Director of the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS) Enrico Giovannini begins his speech recognizing the circular economy as the key point of rethinking the economic and social model. He believes that, currently, the concept of circularity is mainly used in reference to material stuff and there is a limited thinking about the need to “recycle” also people. Consequently, without reinvesting continuously in people, they are most likely to be treated as “social waste” (Pope Francis). Having a large part of the population feeling like waste, will not ensure the social and institutional dimensions of sustainability. The current Covid-19 crisis clarifies that if people feel to be excluded from the social and economic processes,institutions are at risk of instability,as people will be in client of pushing for radical changes in the status quo, i.e.a revolution. The “Arab Springs” are an example of this: started as an environmental problem, then transformed into an economic and social crisis, ended with an institutional instability and a revolution. Also migration is an indicator of how people who are treated as “social waste” try to recycle themselves moving somewhere else. He reminds that the economy, society, environment and institutions need to be fully integrated in a vision of sustainable development according to the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In 2019, the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work published a report discussing how, in business accounting, workers and their training are accounted for as a cost, like intermediate materials or raw materials, which reduce the company’s profit. According to him, this perspective does not...
  • 15 January 2021

    Industrial Ecology and CE

    Industrial Ecology: A foundation for envisioning and measuring the Circular Economy transition By Shyaam Ramkumar – Tondo Associate English Version The concept of a circular economy has been quickly gaining momentum in recent years. Many local and national governments, companies from startups to SMEs to multinational corporations, and a growing number of NGOs such as Tondo are driving the push for a transformation of our current economic model towards one that is more circular, regenerative, and resilient. However, the theoretical and conceptual foundations of the circular economy have a much longer history. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation lists seven different schools of thought that make up the basic tenets of the circular economy, one of which is Industrial Ecology. Industrial Ecology became a prominent concept with the publication of an article by Robert Frosch and Nicholas Gallopoulos in Scientific American titled “Strategies for Manufacturing”. In the article, Frosch and Gallopoulos conceptualize how industrial systems could behave more like ecological systems. Similar to the symbiotic relationships found in nature where wastes of one species are resources for another, they pondered how outputs and wastes from one industry could be inputs into another industry. The field has since evolved to encompass a set of tools and methods that can help transform value chains across cities, regions, and countries to become more circular. These tools and methods can provide a foundation for envisioning and measuring the circular economy transition. Life Cycle Analysis One of the main methods within Industrial Ecology is Life Cycle Analysis, or LCA. Using the LCA methodology, enables the assessment of the environmental impacts across the whole lifecycle of a product, process, or service. The methodology creates a detailed inventory of all the resources, energy, and materials required from extraction and processing to the production, distribution, use, and disposal of the...
  • 8 January 2021

    Eco-Design or Circular Design?

    By Simone Bambagioni – Tondo Associate English Version Ecological design – or eco-design – is certainly one of the key enablers for a transition towards a circular economy. Yet, is it the best alternative to make fully circular products? Eco–design is an approach to designing products with special consideration for the environmental impacts of the product during its whole lifecycle. As described in the European Waste Framework Directive, it is based on a hierarchical structure of waste management that goes, in order of priority, from the prevention of waste (best option) to reuse, recycling, other recovery and disposal (worst option). However, this process relies on the assumption that the concept of waste still exists and will inevitably persist. However, in an ideal Circular Economy based future, products and materials are reused and cycled indefinitely, eliminating as a consequence the very concept of waste. Therefore, in order to have a truly Circular Product Design, we need to introduce a further concept – what Walter Stahel calls the Principle of Inertia. According to it, a product must maintain its original state (or a state as close as possible to the original one) for as long as possible, in order to minimize and ideally eliminate the environmental costs when performing interventions to preserve or restore the product’s added economic value overtime. In this context, product lifecycle is no longer linked to functionality, but rather to the obsolescence. Products, indeed, can become obsolete for many reasons (technologically outdated, outmoded, outlawed, lost of economic value, etc.) while maintaining their original functionality. This means that the state of obsolescence does not necessarily have to be permanent. It can often be reversed, giving the product a new lease of life. As long as this process stands, a single product can have several use cycles during its lifetime. And...
  • 1 January 2021

    KAFFEEFORM

    English Version Winter is coming and the cold weather with it as well which encourages all of us to look for something to keep us warm. For instance, a blanket, a jumper, a pair of soft and thick socks or a hot drink. Indeed, one of the most popular beverages in the world is coffee which, actually, has no seasonality anymore. Coffee has been consumed for over 1000 years now and around two billion cups are drunk everyday worldwide. This makes coffee the most consumed beverage and the second largest traded commodity after oil. According to the International Coffee Organization, Europe accounted for 34% of global coffee consumption in 2019, followed by Asia and Oceania, Latin America and North America. Therefore, the European Union has the world’s highest per capita consumption with 5kg of coffee per person per year, which is surprisingly high. The increasing production and consumption of this beverage comes with the consequent huge generation of spent coffee grounds left from coffee brewing. According to Solange et al., 6 million tons of spent coffee grounds are generated every year worldwide thus resulting in a great amount of unused organic waste. Spent coffee grounds are usually known and used for their natural and strong properties as fertilizer for gardens, plants and compost. However, over the last years numerous researchers and companies have been focusing on other possible ways to benefit from such waste. For instance, coffee residues can be exploited in pharmaceutical industry, in the food sector or in bio-refineries and for a variety of different products such as the coffee cups created by KAFFEEFORM. THE KAFFEEFORM STORY KAFFEEFORM was born in Berlin from the initial vision of creating something new and lasting out of supposed waste. It all started with Julian Lechner, product designer, who after years of...
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