Unblocking the Circular Economy

Scott-Harden, Simon, English, Stuart, Skanda, Ali, Schurg, Leonard, Elleke, Katharina and Morison, Ben (2019) Unblocking the Circular Economy. In: IASDR 2019 - International Association of Societies of Design Research Conference 2019: Design Revolutions, 2nd - 5th September 2019, Manchester, UK.

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There is a blockage in the Circular Economy. Discarded plastic products end up in the Indian Ocean where thousands of tonnes of waste plastic is washed up on the beaches of East Africa. This creates a detrimental impact on both the marine ecosystem and the economy where the locals rely on coastal fishing, trade and tourism for their livelihoods.

Plastic comes ashore in many forms and is badly degraded by the elements such that when processed locally, the quality of the recycled material cannot meet the needs of the community. The researchers worked with shoreline communities to help develop a processing method capable of giving waste plastic a valuable second life. As a demonstration of the potential of this new recycled material they constructed a traditional dhow sailing boat entirely from plastic trash collected from Kenya’s beaches and towns. During its 500 kilometre maiden voyage from Lamu in Kenya to Zanzibar in Tanzania, the researchers stopped at communities along the way to change mindsets about plastic waste.

This paper practically demonstrates how an environmentally and economically damaging waste problem can be re envisaged as a valuable resource that supports the local and regional economy and unblocks the circular economy in the shoreline communities of East Africa.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Circular Economy, Design Innovation, Dhow, Plastic Recycling
Subjects: L700 Human and Social Geography
W200 Design studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Design
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2019 17:21
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 13:06
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/40706

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