October 20, 2022

Hybrid Intelligence Podcast: Sophie Thomas on the Circular Economy

Lee Sankey interviews Sophie for the hybrid intelligence podcast. Some of his key takeaways:

  1. A simple but powerful way to think about circularity and communicate it is – the material is the constant and the product is the blip.
    Anyone can understand that. How do we design and build things with the recovery of the materials in mind so that they can go back into the economy and be reused. It is this last step, the secondary markets, which closes the loop and makes circularity more complex and impactful than recycling alone.
  2. There is an opportunity to redefine product desirability.
    In 2022 do we have the luxury of viewing products as desirable if they are not circular? The simple answer is no, but as consumers we are of course drawn to the latest innovative things. Circularity is not top of mind. It is generally not a criteria. But as consumers we do have a lot of power when we vote with our wallets. Businesses of course can lead the way by being brave on creating circular products but as we hear in the episode, it’s not straightforward at all because of the temptations of a constant flow of cheap virgin material, especially plastic, and the mind-numbing complexities of the recovery chain, which includes the secondary markets for materials.
  3. Rarely do design briefs include a sentence which states – this product must be designed with a 3rd or 4th life in mind.
    The inclusion of such sentence would have such a profound effect on the nature of the products we make and help shift the definition of what good design is. Do businesses, designers and everyone involved need to do more on this? I think we already know the answer…

Read his full article here.