On December 5th, 2019, I gave a lecture on circular economy and sustainable product design at the design event “Exploring The Sustainable Creative City”.
The event took place in Kolding, in beautiful Denmark!
Here you can find the article of the municipality of Kolding:
Content of the lecture
The aim of the circular economy is to be able to 100% reuse products that are no longer needed. Briefly explained: Waste should be avoided completely.
During my lecture, I used practical examples (smartphone, designed stereo system) to show how products are currently manufactured. Many devices can no longer be repaired or upgraded. These products are difficult to disassemble into their component parts. This means that encapsulated products can only be recycled at great expense. Reuse is almost impossible. Sure you are knowing our current smartphone models. The battery can no longer be replaced by the user. In some cases this statement is simply not true! With the Blackberry KeyOne, for example, you can easily replace the battery by removing the rear panel. The battery is the first thing which break down in a smartphone. So manufacturers can sell more devices. One suggests to the customer that only a new device can help.
A similar development can currently be found in notebooks. Around 10 years ago, it was very easy to replace the battery, memory, hard disk and any CD drive that was present. In the meantime these maintenance accesses have practically all disappeared.
Some manufacturers, such as Terra Computer Computer (Wortmann AG) https://www.wortmann.de/ are resisting this trend! They still make sustainable notebooks today. The advantage here is: The devices can be easily upgraded!
What are the alternatives?
For example we find alternatives in the area of the standard PC. So this is an excellent example of sustainability! At the event I showed how a product can remain in the economic cycle for many years through repair and upgrading. This avoids unnecessary waste. The recycling of old circuit boards is now well advanced and up to 100% of these materials find their way back into use.
The same can be found in many industrial products, these are similar to the PC, with a modular structure. Individual parts can be exchanged without having to completely replace the device.
For consumers, this means that a look at “professional devices” is a sustainable alternative to the usual consumer products.
That’s why I use standard components for MoRobo products! All devices have a possible lifespan of 100 years and more. Here you can find an example. All components can easily be exchanged or upgraded.
I enjoyed this lecture a lot! Hopefully I was able to raise awareness about sustainability and make the audience think.
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