By design or not, we now live in a world dominated by waste. The linear ‘take-make-waste’ economy defines our products, our environments and our way of life. But what if we imagine an economy in which today’s products are tomorrow’s resources? An economy like an ecosystem: a Circular Economy? The shape of such an economy is already visible in outline. Surely this opens up enormous opportunities for business and design?

The TU Delft hosted a Circular Product Design event on 6 November at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering in the Joost van der Grinten hall. This one-day event explored these opportunities, together with some of the world’s pioneers of the circular economy. It revolved around the question: ‘the economy is changing, what do I need to know, experience and do?’

In line with the university's fields of expertise and philosophy, the TU Delft is firmly committed to work towards a circular economy together with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. This registered charity works in education, business innovation and analysis to stimulate a transition to a Circular Economy.

As of 2014, Delft University of Technology is one of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's Pioneer Universities.

Delft University of Technology has been involved with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) since 2013 with the Schmidt-MacArthur Fellowship. This is the international postgraduate programme on circular economy for design, engineering and business students.

IDE's Circular Product Design research area focuses on the development of methods and tools that enable the design of products that are used more than once (i.e. that have multiple lifecycles). This research area explores circular design strategies, such as product life-extension, reuse, remanufacturing and recycling, and the business models that enable these strategies. 


Rich Gilbert

Rich Gilbert co-founded The Agency of Design - a design consultancy lending organisations a hand to design a better future by re-thinking our physical and digital worlds. Their team of designers, engineers and strategists work with clients ranging from medical start ups, to multinationals and government departments. 

Jon Mason

Jon Mason is a Senior Scientist at Philips Research and he has been working in the area of user interaction and experience for Philips Lighting. The topic areas he has worked on have spanned the consumer and professional lighting domains from office and hospitality lighting through to the home with his work on Philips hue.

Dave Hakkens

Dutch designer Dave Hakkens has - as he puts it - 'a simple goal; try to make the world better by making better things'. He graduated cum laude from the Design Academy Eindhoven.

Ingrid de Pauw

Ingrid de Pauw  studied Industrial Design Engineering at the TU Delft, specialising in environmental product development. She has been working as a product designer for 15 years, on diverse product development and strategic projects in the field of sustainable design.

Toby Kiers

As of January 2014, Toby Kiers was appointed as a University Research Chair & Professor of Mutualistic Interactions at the VU University Amsterdam. She received her PhD from the University of California, Davis, in 2005, with a focus on Ecology, Evolution and Agriculture and plant-microbial interactions.

Conny Bakker

Conny Bakker  is an associate professor at the TU Delft, faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. Her research field is design for the circular economy, with emphasis on the design and development of products that have multiple lifecycles.

Kay van 't Hof

Kay van 't Hof's graduation project at Océ was about redefining the ink cartridge by means of Nature Inspired Design methodology. He had worked as an independent designer together with startups to create sustainable products and to clarify complex situations visually.

Béatrice Otto

Béatrice Otto is an independent consultant, passionate about inspiring sustainable design in business models, products and services. Béatrice ran multiple projects for the UK’s Design Council, including defining a sustainability strategy, Searching for Solutions

Koen de Snoo

Drs. Koen de Snoo was the director of the Sustainability & Circular Economy Directorate at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. He was responsible for, amongst others, the public policy on the green growth strategy, resource efficiency and waste management, and biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Ivo Salters

As graduate student of Industrial Design Engineering, Ivo Salters has done research and creating solutions concerning customer behaviour towards circular business models.

Kevin Shahbazi

As an Integrated Product Design candidate at the TU Delft with a background in Nanotechnology Engineering, Kevin Shahbazi is interested in how product design will evolve and embrace emerging technologies & materials to create durable and resilient product-service systems. He aspires to create meaningful designs enabling sustainable growth in many industries.

Rodrigo Bautista Medina

As part of the System Innovation team at Forum for the Future, Rodrigo Bautista creates sustainable and innovative long-term solutions. He is an award winner designer from ICSID and AIGA.


Welcome speech

Session 1

Products that Last

The book presents the results of the Products that Last IOP-IPCR research project, with Marcel den Hollander and Conny Bakker as lead researchers. Products that Last offers readers an innovative and practical methodology to unravel a product’s afterlife and systematically evaluate it for new opportunities. It introduces business models that enable us to benefit from the opportunities offered by a much longer product life. The book is for sale via Amazon.


A 3-minute highlight video of the Circular Product Design event

New to Circular Economy? Watch this introductory videofrom the Ellen MacArthur Foundation