rePurpose

  • 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 Products, indeed, can become obsolete for many reasons (technologically outdated, outmoded, outlawed, lost of economic value, etc.)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...
  • 20 November 2019

    Plastic offset is here

    Plastic offset is here. Here’s how to do it right by Peter Wang Hjemdahl (Co-Founder, rePurpose Global) A new paradigm is entering the environmental zeitgeist, and that paradigm is plastic offset. So what is it really, and how could it stem the global tide of plastic pollution? Put simply, for every dollar contributed by a polluter, a certain amount of plastic waste would be intercepted from the environment on your behalf as an individual or a company.  All across the developing world, waste management social enterprises have popped up to provide ethical & efficient solutions to our plastic epidemic, yet they are often underfunded and left unable to scale. Inspired by carbon credit, plastic offset is a transformative way of funding these innovations to accelerate our transition towards a circular economy.  Just like carbon, there are as many ways to do plastic offset wrong as ways to do it right. With the complex relationship between consumer responsibility and producer accountability, generating a truly meaningful impact is challenging yet entirely possible. From the landfills and alleyways of Mumbai to corporate headquarters in New York, we spent years understanding both local needs and the global systems that govern our waste. Here are 3 principles we have distilled on how to do plastic offset, right. Principle 1: Hit the problem where it hurts Anywhere in the developing world, if you pay attention to the kinds of plastic that are actually littering our streets, beaches, and landfills, you will notice a trend – it’s dominated by low-value plastic like to-go containers, candy wrappers, and plastic bags.  These materials are classified as low-value plastic because they are extremely difficult to recycle. Shanghai, Cairo, New Delhi, Nairobi, Jakarta – a vibrant informal recycling industry do exists in cities worldwide and employs tens of millions of workers who...
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