Cultivating the next circular economy generation

Monday, June 13, 2016

To raise awareness among the academic sector and promote the implementation of closed loop cycle production methods, are among the components of the Closed Loop Cycle Production in the Americas (CLCPA) Program. To this end, the Department of Sustainable Development (DSD) of the Organization of American States (OAS) conveyed the first edition of a Design Workshop on Closed Loop Cycle Production and Circular Economy in Bogota and Medellin, Colombia. The workshops concluded with a design challenge were 40 Industrial Design students competed to design sustainable packaging solutions. The winners will support CLCPA’s local pilot projects.

(San Buenaventura university students participating in the two-day workshop held in Medellin, Colombia)

The Design Workshops on Closed Loop Cycle Production and Circular Economy were held from April 4-7 in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism (MINCIT), and the Cleaner Production Centre of Colombia (CNPML). The Jorge Tadeo Lozano University School of Product Design and the San Buenaventura University Industrial Design Program co-hosted these initial workshops. These practical gatherings aimed at showcasing the viability of circular economy design methods, while equipping students with manufacturing techniques and skills that produce no waste or pollution as part of a sustainable and innovative business approach to improve productivity, energy efficiency and environmental performance within the industrial sector, particularly in SMEs.

These two-day workshops included specialized lectures, and a presentation of the projects presently carried out under the CLCPA Program, highlighting the role of the OAS and other institutional partners in implementing this innovative concept in the Americas, and a review of the uses and functions of food packaging by a field expert. The imparted information will enable students to identify food packaging that includes the principles of universal design, implement packaging solutions for users with (and without) disabilities, and learn about the local needs that spawned the implementation of the CLCPA pilot projects.

(Jorge Tadeo Lozano University students participating in the two-day workshop held in Bogota, Colombia)

Additional content included the provision of elements of the Closed Loop Cycle Production and Circular Economy concept, and a methodology for the design process of products. The introduction of this concept and methodology will allow students to understand the concept and principles of Sustainable Design and Circular Economy, distinguish the differences between eco-efficiency and sustainable approaches, and foster the design of products and packaging solutions that follow a Biological or Technical cycle for advancing waste reduction.

An evaluation committee integrated by technical experts, design instructors and other environmental specialists throughout the region are currently assessing the contesting packaging alternatives. The design evaluation criteria included technical/biological cycle compliance, integration of company and users’ needs and expectations, identification of positive and negative environmental impacts, innovation and creativity. The winners will be recognized by the Department of Sustainable Development.

The CLCPA Program focuses on contributing to the sustainable development of the productive sector of the participating countries, improving energy efficiency and environmental performance of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to facilitate the transition toward circular economies in the region. This program is part of the broader Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) broader initiative.