• CIRCULAR ECONOMY: A circular economy is a global economic model that decouples economic growth and development from the consumption of finite resources. It is restorative by design, and aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value, at all times.
  • CLOSED LOOP: In a closed loop, used products come back to the original manufacturer and components or materials are used again to produce new products of the same type.
  • CRADLE TO CRADLE: Cradle to Cradle (C2C) is a unique approach to product design conceptualized by architect William McDonough and chemist Dr. Michael Braungart and described in their book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.
  • DEMATERIALIZATION: Dematerialisation means using as little material as possible in the production of an item, thereby reducing its material intensity. Another way of approaching dematerialization is replacing the physical product with digital alternatives (newspapers, music CDs, video entertainment (DVDs), travel services).
  • DESIGN FOR RECYCLING: Design for recycling aims at recovering the residual value from materials and resources that have already been utilized in the economy, thus reducing the need for extraction of virgin resources. Design for recycling can take two forms:
    • Design for closed-loop recycling, which means recycled products are produced, collected and re-used within the same value chain of a company;
    • Design for recycling that allow products to be recycled within the industry or the economy at large (e.g. plastic, paper).
  • DOWNCYCLING: Downcycling is a process converting materials into new materials of lesser quality and reduced functionality.
  • FEEDSTOCK: Feedstock is anything used to produce a new product. This in particular includes raw materials (from either virgin or recycled sources) but can also include components from old products used in a new product.
  • ISO 14001 CERTIFICATION: ISO14001 Environmental Management System Certification enables companies to implement an effective system for tackling key environmental impacts whilst continually improvie overall performance.
  • LIFETIME (OF A PRODUCT): The lifetime is the total amount of time a product is in use, including potential reuse of the whole product. The lifetime can be increased by repair or maintenance.
  • MAINTENANCE: Maintenance is the most efficient way to retain or restore equipment to its desired level of performance. Proper maintenance has the added responsibility of protecting the equipment from further damage, personal safety and pollution prevention.
  • MODULAR DESIGN: Modular Design allows the designer to build a product using a block grid pattern. Each of the elements of the design fits into the modules in defined patterns.
  • PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE: According to the European Consumer Organisation, BEUC, the concept of planned obsolescence is associated with "a wide range of techniques that certain manufacturers might use to shorten the functional lifespan of products and force consumers to make premature replacements in order to continue selling in saturated markets".
  • REFURBISHMENT: Refurbishment is the process of returning a product to good working condition by replacing or repairing major components that are faulty or close to failure and making cosmetic changes to update the appearance of a product, such as changing fabric or painting.
  • REMANUFACTURING: Remanufacture denotes the process of disassembly and recovery at the sub-assembly or component level. Functioning, reusable parts are taken out of a used product and rebuilt into a new one. This process includes quality assurance and potential enhancements or changes to the components.
  • REPAIR: Repairing is the practice of getting damaged or broken components back to a useful state.
  • REUSE: Product reuse aims at keeping the product as it is and giving it a second life. This can be achieved by finding a market for second hand sales or by indentifying a different scope for the product. The reused products can be the complete products, or can be components of the product which are then sold.