MakerSpaces and the Circular Economy

SA Makers, in partnership with Green Industries SA and Rawtec, hosted a session at Makerspace Adelaide on 22 September 2020, with waste educators, designers, data geeks, statisticians, hackers and lateral thinkers invited to contribute their ideas and insights with an important challenge: How can the contribution of a makerspace to the circular economy be measured? It’s reasonably easy to measure waste to landfill, or materials diverted for recycling. But how do we keep track of a variety of materials that have been reused (offcuts or salvaged/donated)? And is it possible to measure avoided consumption? 

How do we define avoided consumption, and differentiate it from materials that displace consumption through repair, reuse, remanufacturing? This workshop involved two rounds each for participants in ‘product teardowns’ of four different material types: electronics, plastics, textiles and furniture (wood). In each of their two sessions, participants recorded their observations in response to a series of prompt questions around Investigating how easy was the product to disassemble? Were special skills or tools needed? Then redesigning - how could this product be designed to be more circular?