Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world: Interpretive structural modelling workshop preliminary analysis

Abstract

Upcycling is one promising approach to extending the lifetimes of products, components, and materials by utilising a variety of material processes and innovations to turn waste products and materials into products of higher quality or value than the compositional elements. Upcycling increases resource efficiency and reduces solid waste and industrial energy consumption. It creates new job opportunities for businesses and reduces costs for materials. Despite such benefits, however, upcycling remains a niche practice. Moving from a niche to a mainstream practice (or scaling-up) could realise the full potential of upcycling. Understanding interrelated and self-reinforcing challenges in the global upcycling value chain is critical for scaling up global upcycling businesses. As existing studies of upcycling are mostly industry and country-specific, the factors impacting upcycling success across industries and countries still need to be discovered, making it difficult to establish which challenges can be prioritised in effectively scaling up upcycling businesses internationally. This study aimed to identify critical global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses worldwide. We organised two online workshops with nine international experts in upcycling, utilising Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM). The preliminary analysis of the ISM workshop results showed that all global challenges and opportunities are interlinked and that key opportunities reflect key challenges, with the first priority intervention suggested as ‘involving citizens in upcycling initiatives or events’ followed by ‘improving material provision’.

Description

Keywords

circular economy, interpretive structural modelling, scaling up, sustainable business, upcycling

Citation

Abuzeinab, A., Sung, K., Moalosi, R., Satheesan, A., Garba, B., Adeh, F., Lim, H., Baek, J., and Njeru, S. (2023) Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world: Interpretive structural modelling workshop preliminary analysis. Product Lifetimes And The Environment (PLATE) 2023 Conference, Espoo, 31 May - 2 June.

Rights

Research Institute

Institute of Art and Design