Circular Process for Eco-Designed Bulky Products and Internal Car Parts

Many materials used in the automotive, furniture, and building industry are considered non-recyclable and are thrown away or incinerated at their end of life. ECOBULK demonstrated how re-using, re-manufacturing, and recycling these materials are possible, profitable, sustainable, and appealing.


Jelle Joustra

Design methodologies:

  • Research through design
  • Circular product design

Project type: Research Project

Domain: Horizon Europe Project

Level: Systems Design

Outcomes: Theses, Reports, Educational material, Publications



Composite materials are products made of two or more different kinds of materials. They are popular because they are stronger and lighter than traditional materials like wood and metal. However, composites are also notoriously difficult to reuse or recycle and are becoming an obstacle to transitioning to a circular economy. Innovative solutions are needed to "close the loop" and show how composite materials can be re-used, re-manufactured, and re-cycled in ways that are business friendly.

A design that does not consider the end of life is not complete

Ruud Balkenende


Outputs from IDE for ECOBULK include: 

  1. The PhD Dissertation of Jelle Joustra - Circular Composites: Design strategies for products containing composite materials in a circular economy.
  2. A Circular Design Guide for Composites, serving as a summary, guidebook, and inspiration for (re)designing composite products for a circular economy. 
  3. Several Master's theses that served as demonstrators of the concepts outlined in the circular design guide. 
  4. A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), Ecobulk – Design and Decision support system for circular composite materials 
  5. A final report that includes a more detailed overview of several demonstrators and concepts introduced int he Circular Desing Guide for Composites. 
  6. Demonstrator sites developed across Europe, showcasing and testing circular solutions in automotive, furniture and construction industry





Bram van der Grinten


Link to partner page

Optional: Department of Human-Centered Design