How to understand and teach upcycling in the context of the circular economy: Literature review and first phase of Delphi

Abstract

Transitioning from a linear economy to a circular economy (CE) requires changes in education at all levels, especially in higher education. The changes in education for the transformation towards CE in both formal and informal settings will eventually inform, inspire, and affect professional practices in industries in a positive way. Aligned with CE, a promising umbrella concept and practice called ‘upcycling’ is emerging. The concepts and practices of CE and upcycling overlap depending on the diverse definitions of the terms provided by academics and practitioners in various disciplines and sectors in different parts of the world. This has caused some confusions and misunderstanding by some academics and professionals. For teachers and training providers that aim to teach students and professionals about sustainable production and consumption including upcycling and CE, it is beneficial to distinguish between these two concepts. Understanding the interrelationships between them in theory and practice is important to provide researchers and practitioners with a clear guidance and recommendations. This study aimed to explore how we should understand and teach upcycling in the context of CE utilising a Delphi method. This short paper presents the literature review and preliminary analysis results based on the first phase of Delphi: definitions of upcycling and CE, comparisons between upcycling and CE, upcycling as part of CE (or interrelationships between them), and effective ways to communicate the aforementioned contents.

Description

Keywords

circular economy, Delphi, design education, transition, upcycling

Citation

Sung, K., Moalosi, R., Satheesan, A., Brosse, C., Burton, E., Lim, H., Cheung, K., Debrah, R., Lettmann, S., and Gaukrodger-Cowan, S. (2023) How to understand and teach upcycling in the context of the circular economy: Literature review and first phase of Delphi. Product Lifetimes And The Environment (PLATE) 2023 Conference, Espoo, 31 May - 2 June.

Rights

Research Institute

Institute of Art and Design