What is the problem?

Worldwide consumption and production drives the global economy, yet the current use of natural resources is unsustainable. The global material footprint rose nearly 18 percent from 73 billion metric tons in 2010 to 85.9 billion metric tons in 2017, the UN reports.  That’s why Sustainable Development Goal 12 aims to achieve economic growth, sustainable development, and reduce our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources. 

How can technology solve the problem?

Technology can help in many ways, from recommendations on energy efficiency to highlighting the carbon footprint of online purchases. The goal is to take into account all phases of resource use to do more and better with less.

Special thanks to our partner, Intuit, who contributed to the starter kits and are providing design thinking tools.

The idea

One of the more pressing challenges in addressing waste and shifting to a more circular economy is the increasing complexity of products.  Electronics are getting smaller and more sophisticated, making recovery and reuse of materials challenging. Product designers should consider how to create products with end-of-life in mind, by reducing the number of components, for example. Communities could benefit from developing infrastructure, policies, and systems to support repair, reuse, and recycling.

To encourage this change, we propose creating a transparent and trustworthy platform for trading resources and knowledge, as well as providing access to a community of experts. This platform will enable producers and consumers to build and buy products in a sustainable way for our society — by reducing waste, increasing the use of recycled materials, and improving the overall repairability of products.

The platform would support the two parties supporting sustainable production with recycled materials: 

  • A producer or a manufacturer who can find and compare price, quality, and carbon impact of recycled materials while learning about best practices for recyclable processing through a trustworthy, real-time trading platform
  • A recycled material supplier who can sell recycled resources directly to producers through a marketplace at competitive rates
See more solution ideas

The architecture

Kit producers

Our creators of this starter kit along with their bios: