In January, Stina went to Stockholm to present our Vinnova project ‘Conversion and Scalability’. The project explores possibilities of electronics-producing companies transforming into a more circular economy, internationally. This past year, we have been identifying the biggest challenges and the most promising opportunities for sustainable transitions in (large) tech companies, and have made a plan for how to implement this, both in our work as designers and technicians but furthermore in the society as a whole.
Above is an inspiring example of a real circular transition in the restaurant business, realised by chef Douglas McMaster and his restaurant Silo. As shown in the video, the organic waste of Silo goes directly into a compost, that later returns to the birthplace of the growing ingredients as fertiliser. However, the road to implementation was quite rocky and as McMaster puts it, “failure is a part of the process”. In order to find a working solution, we have to try those that does not work.
The Vinnova project ‘Conversion and Scalability’ shares McMasters ambition to make ‘’waste into fertiliser’’, in this case different bins synonymous to Silo’s compost. As a novis looking in, the answer seems simple: Why don’t we just put the electronics in the same bin, melt it down and make something new? If it were that easy, the reality of a circular economy would be within close reach. However, the issue is far more complex. All different parts of electronic devices are made out of different materials, often non-identifiable materials, making sorting extremely difficult.
If there were only a dozen producers, this would be easier. But with the reality of thousands of different electronics-producing companies, whom in their turn make thousands of different materials and products, a universal system is quite a challenge. After a year of research, with the support of Vinnova, the ‘Zenit Design Sustainability Crew’ has identified and mapped out obstacles and possibilities of a tech company’s transition to a circular economy.
Why is all this relevant to a design agency? As written in Circular and Bio-based Economy we truly believe that as designers, we carry out the responsibility to make sure the products and services, landing in our society, are sustainable and therefor setting a solid foundation for the future. However, all clients are different, with different needs. Just like the Circular economy, we have to customise sustainability thinking in relation to the contexts of our clients wishes.
The crew contains of two devoted members, both having the environmental question at heart - Mechanical designer Stina Hallström and Design Strategy lead Mathias Walter. Both Stina and Mathias has a burning interest for our planet and how to save it - together they make the ‘’Sustainability Crew’’ here at Zenit Design.