Circularity means rethinking a linear use cycle of your product or service with a beginning, middle, and end. If a product or service is truly circular, it will never actually have an end to its life, but continuously take a new form. Mapping this journey will ensure that your product stays in a useful state for as long as possible and adds value at every stage.
Start by asking yourself: how long is the intended use phase initially for the product or service? And could this be extended?
Then, ask yourself “what’s next?” What happens after its first use cycle?
Do this for multiple cycles. What are the journeys for the different parts of your product or service after use? It is likely that your product will break down into its core elements/components the further you go into cycles of use.
Before finalising, consider the practical challenges during the disposal, collection, and recovery stages. (For example, a particular product or product component might be made of recyclable material, but not be recycled in reality.)
For components that do not have a circular pathway, how could they be redesigned? You might consider revisiting the Smart Material activity if you need help with this.
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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.
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