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Circular recovery: COWI

By well thought-out design adapted for disassembly, conditions are created for closed material cycles where the products never turn into waste.

Our proposal is based on developing a training package that enables manufacturing companies to begin their transition into a circular economy.

It aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice and help manufacturers to begin a shift towards better resource efficiency, higher quality and better profitability.

By providing the right tools and a methodology that puts theory into practice, opportunities are created for more companies to begin the transition towards a circular economy. This is achieved through joint training courses and workshops which focus on supporting manufacturers in producing products that can be reused and recycled in an efficient manner.

The inspiration came from circular economy and cradle-to-cradle theories. There are numerous reports that demonstrate a high economic growth potential consistent with social and environmental responsibility. But the transition is slow, and the number of companies that put the theory into practical reality is too few.

This realisation gave birth to the idea of developing a training package for manufacturing companies to transform circular theories into practice.

With rising commodity prices, manufacturers are facing a challenge in adapting their designs to the changing conditions. A strong competitive advantage is obtained through better controlled resource flows.

The package would create opportunities for the manufacturing industry to find new business models with more closed and efficient resource flows. It would in turn lead to a more sustainable use of resources and a reduction in waste and extraction of virgin raw materials.

There are no limits to where the idea could be implemented. The concept could be translated and used anywhere in the world because it is based on proven methods such as lifecycle assessment, sustainability analysis and disassembling workshops.

Jens Thulin, sustainable urban manager, and Elsa Hagdahl, urban and environmental planner, COWI

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