How the dwiss’ sustainable design supports the Circular Economy

Don’t you think it’s ironic that most recycling bins are made of oil based plastic and brushed aluminium? Why make a product that supports the Circular Economy using energy intensive finite materials? It seems odd to me.

What I mean by a ‘sustainable product’

For me that means something that uses sustainable materials in a conservative manner, is built to last and can be repaired as wear and tear takes its toll, and which can be used as a material to make another product when it is no longer useful in its current form.

And what is the Circular Economy?

Our economy to date has been very much linear - we gather natural resources, use fossil fuel based energy to turn them into goods, use the goods and then dispose of them in landfill - take, make, dispose. In this approach the resources lose their value quickly and we deplete finite naturals resources, emit pollutants, and require significant landfill capacity.

The Circular Economy is an approach to providing goods that is concerned with maximising the value of resources by making durable goods that have been designed to be repaired, reused, recycled and recovered (i.e. used as fuel to produce heat and power). This is done by the careful selection of sustainable materials, considered design, and the use of production techniques that use renewable energy, as shown in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Economy System diagram below.

The dwiss, sustainable design and the Circular Economy

Bearing in mind the above we developed the dwiss to incorporate the following features.

Single Skin - using an innovative ‘frame and compartment’ system we’ve eliminated the need for an outer skin that looks good and an inner skin that does the job. With the dwiss, the elegant compartments that provide the dwiss’ timeless style are also durable and functional. Because of this the result is:

  • industry leading capacity whilst being a similar size

  • a significant reduction in the quantity of material required

  • a significant reduction in weight, which reduces fuel used during transportation

FSC Certified Timber - the dwiss is made almost entirely out of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified plywood because they take care of forests and the people and wildlife who call them home. FSC certified timber has been forested in a way that is:

  • Environmentally appropriate: protecting and maintaining natural commu­nities and high conservation value forests.

  • Socially beneficial: respecting the rights of workers, communities and indigenous peoples.

  • Economically viable: building markets, adding best value, and creating equitable access to benefits.

Durable - the dwiss has been built to last because we've:

  • used plywood, which is a tough and stable material

  • minimised the number of joints (which are likely to fail first over the years) by keeping the number of parts to a minimum

  • avoided mechanical parts that might fail - there’s just a single piano hinge

Repairable - the dwiss has a very simple design, and because we screw the pieces together (avoiding the use of glue where possible) the dwiss is easy to repair. Each dwiss is laser engraved with a unique serial number so if your dwiss ever needs a little TLC we’ll know exactly how to help. If something needs replacing we’ll use a reconditioned part (don’t worry, it will look as good as new :) and use your old one to learn how to improve the design. If possible we’ll then recondition your old part, giving it a second life.

Recyclable - when your dwiss does come to the end of its life it can be recycled, and so used to form a new sustainable product.

Why we adopted this approach

Imagine if everyone had a fair chance in life. I think that having a healthy environment in which to live, love and grow is part of such a chance. And that sustainable design - using natural resources sustainably, reducing harmful emissions and reducing waste - supports a healthy environment. So by designing the dwiss to be sustainable, to make recycling quick and easy, I believe we’re helping give people the fair chance they deserve.

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