Incorporating circularity in modern-day product design

Incorporating circularity as a crucial aspect of modern-day design: A circular economy eliminates waste, extends product life, repurpose products and materials, and regenerates nature. We provide some practical advice for businesses trying to become more circular.

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Circularity is a crucial aspect of modern-day design.

Our economy is linear: We take materials from the earth → Turn them into goods → Return them to the earth as waste. With finite resources, that can’t continue.

A circular approach to product development BREAKS that straight line by:

🌱 Designing out waste – using durable, non-toxic materials and methods.

🌱 Extending the life of products – efficient use, redistribution, and recycling.

🌱 Regenerative nature – Returning waste material to nature in a non-harmful way.

🌱 Repurposing products – extending a product’s lifetime with new, additional uses.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s the best diagram (courtesy of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation) we’ve found that explains the circular concept.

Image visualising the circular economy by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation. Source: https://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy-diagram

Our advice for businesses trying to be more circular

1.   Take a holistic approach: You can’t be circular in isolation – analyse your whole chain and ecosystem.
2.   Understand your waste: Both your carbon impact AND your material impact.
3.   Learn about sustainability legislation: Understand its impact, now and in the future.
4.   Test and learn: Start now, taking small steps you can scale later.

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