Circular Product Design: Addressing Critical Materials through Design

Conny Bakker, Marcel den Hollander, David Peck, Ruud Balkenende

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientific

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For product designers, the world has traditionally been one of resource
abundance. Introducing them to a resource-constrained world thus
requires new design strategies. This chapter explores how embedding
circular economy principles into design practice and education could
help product designers take critical material problems into account. We
introduce four product design strategies that address materials criticality:
(1) avoiding and (2) minimizing the use of critical materials, (3)
designing products for prolonged use and reuse, and (4) designing
products for recycling. The ‘circular’ strategies (3) and (4) are
elaborated, as these sit most firmly within the remit of product design.
This leads to a typology of circular product design that redefines product
and material lifetime in terms of obsolescence, and introduces a range of
approaches to resist, postpone or reverse product and material
obsolescence. The typology establishes the basis for the field of circular
product design, bringing together design approaches that were until this
date unconnected and paving the way for the development of detailed
design methods.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Materials
Subtitle of host publicationUnderlying Causes and Sustainable Mitigation Strategies
EditorsErik Offerman
Place of PublicationLondon, UK
PublisherWorld Scientific
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)978-981-3271-04-3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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