What Design Can Do 2023: Pioneering Circular Design

Published 26 May 2023

2 min read

International creative platform What Design Can Do and the Ikea Foundation have revealed the winners of their 2023 Make it Circular Challenge. The 13 proposals champion locally abundant resources and creative recycling initiatives to forge a more circular future for architecture, fashion and the consumer goods industry. Here, we explore the highlights.

  • Using What’s at Hand: Projects advocate using locally abundant resources and waste streams to create solutions that are accessible and affordable, support regional economies, and reduce carbon emissions.

    An estimated 100 million tonnes of crop residue is burnt in India each year, causing severe air pollution (Nature, 2022). Indian start-up Craste transforms this waste into a high-quality packaging paper that emits no harsh chemicals and uses less water than conventional methods.

    Saathi (also Indian) transforms discarded banana fibres into absorbent, biodegradable and chemical-free period pads. Its products biodegrade in six months, which is 1,200 times faster than conventional options.

    Dutch company CoolBricks presses and sundries cow dung, soil and agricultural waste into architectural bricks. These are 20% stronger, 50% cheaper, and produce 90% fewer emissions than traditional alternatives, and can be recycled or used as fertiliser at end of life.

 

  • Reworking Recycling: Some projects tackle recycling to help products last longer and ensure that precious resources stay in the value chain.

    Turkish company Nivogo takes back faulty and unwanted garments and textile products from brands and consumers so they can be cleaned, repaired and resold. It is expanding its business to also restore electronic goods, furniture and baby products.

    Meanwhile, Belgian start-up Resortecs creates a heat-dissolvable thread, so that adornments (like sequins and rivets) can be separated from clothing, and the fabric disassembled for reuse. The solution is five times faster than conventional disassembly methods, and doesn’t require brands to alter their existing manufacturing processes.

    Other winners include Taller Capital (Mexico), Mujō (Germany), Alterist (UK), Refugio (Mexico), Studio Malu (Hungary), Balena (Israel), and Rethread Africa (Kenya).
  • Using What’s at Hand: Projects advocate using locally abundant resources and waste streams to create solutions that are accessible and affordable, support regional economies, and reduce carbon emissions.

    An estimated 100 million tonnes of crop residue is burnt in India each year, causing severe air pollution (Nature, 2022). Indian start-up Craste transforms this waste into a high-quality packaging paper that emits no harsh chemicals and uses less water than conventional methods.

    Saathi (also Indian) transforms discarded banana fibres into absorbent, biodegradable and chemical-free period pads. Its products biodegrade in six months, which is 1,200 times faster than conventional options.

    Dutch company CoolBricks presses and sundries cow dung, soil and agricultural waste into architectural bricks. These are 20% stronger, 50% cheaper, and produce 90% fewer emissions than traditional alternatives, and can be recycled or used as fertiliser at end of life.

 

  • Reworking Recycling: Some projects tackle recycling to help products last longer and ensure that precious resources stay in the value chain.

    Turkish company Nivogo takes back faulty and unwanted garments and textile products from brands and consumers so they can be cleaned, repaired and resold. It is expanding its business to also restore electronic goods, furniture and baby products.

    Meanwhile, Belgian start-up Resortecs creates a heat-dissolvable thread, so that adornments (like sequins and rivets) can be separated from clothing, and the fabric disassembled for reuse. The solution is five times faster than conventional disassembly methods, and doesn’t require brands to alter their existing manufacturing processes.

    Other winners include Taller Capital (Mexico), Mujō (Germany), Alterist (UK), Refugio (Mexico), Studio Malu (Hungary), Balena (Israel), and Rethread Africa (Kenya).

Craste

Saathi

CoolBricks

Nivogo

Resortecs

Resortecs

Craste

Saathi

CoolBricks

Nivogo

Resortecs

Resortecs