A Straight Line to the ‘Circular Design’ Economy

Quartz: “Our modern industrial economy was based on a straight line—a linear progression of make, use, dispose … But what would happen if we took that line and bent it into a circle? What if the stuff we created never outlived its use? What if its constituent parts could be used as raw material for the next generation? That’s the promise of circular design.”

“Take Tesla, for example … Electric vehicles are powered by renewables, and when you’re not driving, your car can join a Tesla fleet that carries out various tasks and pays you for the favor, thereby offsetting your cost. Instead of just sitting there like a lump of steel in your garage when not in use, your car can also perform personal tasks for you when in autonomous mode, like driving your mother back to her assisted-living facility or delivering a gift to a friend.”

“On the consumer level, several startups are making it easy for buyers to tap into the circular-design economy. Stuffstr, for example, makes keeping products such as mobile phones or game consoles in circulation easy. You log your purchases in the app, and when they’ve outlived their use, it does the work of selling, donating, or giving them away … Spacious transforms restaurants that are closed during the day into co-working spaces, saving both the restaurant and the co-working spaces lease money.”


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