Work Package 3: CIRCULAR PRODUCT DESIGN

Work Package (WP) 3 looks at the challenge from a design/er perspective. We interviewed WP 3 leaders M.Sc. Eduard Wagner from Fraunhofer IZM and Thijs Feenstra from Pezy Group about their activities and role in the project.

Can you introduce yourself?

Eduard Wagner: “I work as a researcher and project manager in the field of digital transition and circular data, especially within usage (durability, obsolescence), repair and recycling. My current project work is related to supply chain transparency, in particular the digital product passport. Further research fields cover the environmental impact and circularity assessment.”

Thijs Feenstra: “I am an experienced Circular Product Design Lead and work at Pezy Group. My background covers 15 years of experience in Concept Development, Engineering, and Circularity and operate at the forefront of circular product development. By building bridges between the world of product development and the world of material recovery, and with a clear focus on feasible goals, I translate commonly used linear development into a circular one. I am frequently speaking at industry trade shows and congresses in Europe and a passionate advocate of circular design.”

What is the role of WP3 in the INCREACE project?

”The role of WP3 in the INCREACE project primarily revolves around providing an ecodesign perspective, focusing on standardisation and environmental considerations, particularly in the context of technologies and circular design derivation.”

What are the main goals and tasks of your work package?

“This WP is divided in three sub-objectives. First, in close collaboration with WP1 and WP2, we will contribute to establishing a common definition for recyclates and related verification methods for recycled content (incl. traceability) for the EEE sector. Second, we will quantify the environmental impact of the innovative INCREACE approach through a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and show possible trade-offs, mainly with data inputs from WP1, WP2 and WP4. Third, we will create practical and granular design guidelines for different recycling technologies that will enable designers to increase the share of recycled plastics in their products, evaluate the sustainability of their existing concepts and suggest improvement options. These guidelines will also take into account the user acceptance of r-plastics (WP 5) and be made publicly available.”

What challenges do you face within the WP and how are you addressing them?

”The biggest challenges we encounter are dependencies from other tasks, the definition of business cases (BCs) and the related data.”

Could you tell us about the partners involved in the Work package and the reasons for their participation?

“Within the scope of the work package, we have several partners contributing across various domains. In standardisation activities, UM, Erion, and Vorwerk are actively engaged. Their participation is crucial as they bring expertise in setting standards and protocols, ensuring seamless integration and compatibility within the project framework. In LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) initiatives, we work together with partners IVV, Neste, Mirec, and Cabka, alongside KUL and ETH. They are contributing their proficiency in analysing the environmental impact of our endeavors. Additionally, EGEN and Vito are involved to provide insights and expertise relevant to this domain. When we look at design aspects, Pezy plays an important role. Within the value chain of recycled plastics, Pezy represents the ‘product developers’ that are responsible for creating a product made from recycled materials and a design that facilitates the recycling of products in a way materials are not lost and remain on a high-quality level in ‘the next round’. To be able to do this, the project needs to understand the way of working of product developers to understand the possibilities to support them in the transition towards circular design.”

What do you anticipate the impact of your work package to be?

”The anticipated impact of our work package lies in providing recommendations for improved environmental performance and derive an environmentally optimal recycling mix, a strategy for a given waste stream composition, and a PCR product strategy. Where possible, the results of this task will feed into the INCREACE Circular Product Design Guidelines developed in T3.3, indicating the potential reduction of the environmental footprint.

A product developer makes choices on material and concept level that are well balanced between a number of requirements. These requirements can be subdivided into a few product aspects: Feasibility, Desirability, Viability. Sustainability is nowadays just as important and should be seen as one of the aspects that are part of the balancing. In this project we try to compare candidate materials that originate from different recycling technologies from LCA perspective. This way a developer is able to take ‘sustainability’ also in account during decision making.”

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    This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grand agreement No 101058487