Collaboration between design and waste management: can it help close the material loop?

Ordoñez, I., & Rahe, U. (2013). Collaboration between design and waste management: Can it help close the material loop? Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 72, 108–117. doi:10.1016/j.resconrec.2013.01.002

Publication type
Scientific article (peer-reviewed)
PhD Project: From Waste to Resources
DOI Title
Collaboration between design and waste management: Can it help close the material loop?
Resources, Conservation and Recycling
Isabel Ordoñez Ulrike Rahe
Published year
Economics and Econometrics Waste Management and Disposal
Municipal solid waste Industrial design Waste Management Material Resources Closed loop



In order to explore the current relationship between industrial design and waste management (WM), a semi-structured interview study was carried out with 25 professionals from WM and designers that have worked with waste. The main aim was to learn about the collaborative work between these two areas and to investigate whether collaboration could help to incorporate material resources into production. The study reveals that designers and WM professionals regard the relation between disciplines in different ways, being more or less centered in their own disciplines. The designers interviewed, however tend to have a wider impression of this relation. This, together with the lack of understanding of the other's role and a fundamental scale difference when dealing with material flows were identified as the main barriers to better and more frequent collaboration. Even though some examples of collaborative work were found, they were not significant enough to have any noticeable effect on the WM system. In order to facilitate future collaboration, the contribution of the presented work is to identify areas for collaboration and suggest initial solutions for overcoming the barriers encountered to help to close the material loop.

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