On the 20th and 21st of April Chalmers hosts the Circular Materials conference. NORSUS is represented at the conference on both days. Cecilia Askham will present her work on the 20th (SirkulærPlast) and John Baxter on the 21st (capturing the real environmental benefits of product reuse).
The SirkulærPlast project: realising circular innovation in Norway
The SirkulærPlastproject (2017-2020) has worked towards innovation in circular plastic materials based on three real-life cases covering three different thermoplastic materials: high density polyethylene (HDPE), Polypropylene (PP) and glass-reinforced nylon (PA6.6). The project was financed by project partners and the Oslofjordfond Regional Research fund, Norway. The companies involved have a healthy collaboration network, despite sometimes being competitors in a fiercely cost-driven market. The SirkulærPlast project consortium included actors from the whole circular life-cycle required for products. Central activities in the project were quality testing and environmental accounting (LCA) work to inform innovation. The participants have learnt a lot about the benefits, challenges and some solutions for using recycled materials in practice. Sharing the knowledge built up during this research project is important and the platform for this will be presented.
Capturing the real environmental benefits of product reuse
End-of-life interventions such as material recycling and product reuse are widely recognised as delivering important environmental benefits. However, these benefits may not be as readily identified as it might seem. For instance, it has been noted that reuse merely delays the final disposal of a product and does not deliver reduced impacts over its total life cycle. The key is focusing on the appropriate spatial and temporal system boundaries, relating to the provision of product function. Comparisons between reuse and make-use-dispose pathways must focus on the function provided and fairly account for this in each case The study explores these issues for a range of consumer products including electronics.It emerges that product reuse requires more complex and multi-faceted analysis than is often recognised.