ECOBULK at Ecomondo

Earlier in November, we took opportunity to present the project, the circular design framework and some of the early prototypes at the Ecomondo Exhibition in Rimini, Italy. At the ISWA booth, representatives from partners Exergy, KEAS, Next Technology Tecnotessile, and Moretti Compact joined in.

ECOBULK is a design-led circular economy project. For us, this means that we believe that the best, time to integrate the many solutions and concepts required to make a product more circular is at the design stage. The Circular Design framework, developed by TUDelft, is a design philosophy, as well as set of tools and strategies, that help to redesign products in a way that will allow manufacturers to take advantage of circular opportunities for repairing, refurbishing, reusing and only as a final resort, recycling their products and materials. 

At Ecomondo, we presented for the first time our video that explains the project, its goals and practical demonstrations. After this introduction, each of our partners then talked about their own contributions to the project.

Moretti Compact displayed a new modular furniture concept using recycled wood particleboard and reusable hot glue binders. The modularity allows for easy reconfiguration of a single base unit into a chair, a desk, shelves or even a bed.

Huseyin Metin from KEAS Kastamonu talked about the development of a new particleboard that will include more than 20% of recycled wood, and significantly lower the formaldehyde emissions. The new materials are currently being tested for integration into the demonstration products.

Also on display were early samples of wood plastic composites from Conenor that include up to 35% of crushed wind turbine blade waste in a thermoplastic matrix that ensures almost endless recycling. These will be used to create sheds, benches and other light structures at the new motorsport center Kyimiring in Finland.

Daniele Spinneli from NTT displayed samples of some of their airlaid non-woven materials for application in the construction, automotive and furniture industries. Non-wovens tend to be lighter than traditional materials, which can make cars more than two kilograms lighter saving fuel and carbon emissions.

Dominik Jasinski, represnting Exergy – the coordinator of the project – talked about their ongoing efforts to develop a stakeholder platform. This platform will be essential to exchange the information necessary to enable circular options across lifecycle stages and different industries. It will also connect supply with demand in a circular marketplace that will allow manufacturers to explore new, more circular business models.

In December, the consortium will meet in Valencia at the office of our partner ITENE. There we will refine the use of the design framework to integrate the expert knowledge of all partners to redesign the demonstration products in the automotive, construction and furniture sectors.

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