Designing for a 
New Plastics Economy

What's the New Plastics Economy?

The New Plastics Economy offers a fundamental rethink for plastics: A vision of a more effective system building on the principles of the circular economy. Read more about it here.

Source: The New Plastics Economy - Rethinking the future of plastics


Designers play a critical role

As explained in The New Plastics Economy: Catalysing action report, designers play a critical role in driving the transition in three areas:

  • Fundamental redesign and innovation for 30% of plastic packaging
  • Contributing to better reuse models for 20% of plastic packaging
  • Enabling recycling models for 50% of plastic packaging
‍Source: The New Plastics Economy - Catalysing action

Who is doing it well?

Here are some examples of how the Circular Design Challenge winners have designed for the New Plastics Economy:


Access the right amount of product without the need for non-recyclable single-use sachets. Read more.


A returnable cup ecosystem to replace the 100 billion single-use cups and lids used every year.
Read more.


An edible or water soluble sachet solution for restaurants and other hospitality businesses. Read more.

The Circular Design Guide is a collaboration between the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and IDEO. To give your feedback, email us directly or join our linkedin group.

Copyright © Ellen MacArthur Foundation 2017, 2018