Demand-driven design strategy for inter-organizational circular system - the valorization of expanded polystyrene in Brazil

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Jaeger, João (1); Paula, Istefani Carisio de (1); Heinen, Madalena (2); Gularte, Aline Cafruni (1); Hauser, Ghissia (1); Phanebecker, Victor Calcanhoto (1)
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul;2: Trashin
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 1177-1186
DOI number:


The valorization of plastic wastes in the Circular Economy poses the challenge of developing inter-organizational systems. Concerning the implementation, the inter-organizational level consists of a set of companies from the same segment acting in different roles in the circular system. This research aims to demonstrate a structured method designed to develop a demand-driven inter-organizational closed-loop circular system for the valorization of packaging waste.

The five-step method includes (i) Contextualization/problematization, (ii) Closed-loop system mapping, (iii) Closed-loop system consolidation, (iv) Building Commitment,(v) Pilot system implementation and operation. A real case illustrates the method. As the unit of analysis we have chosen the supply chain and reverse channels of expanded and extruded polystyrene packaging in Brazil. The project was developed from December 2021 to March 2022.

The contribution to the literature is to validate the premises and to provide insight into the challenges of developing real circular economy closed loop systems. The practical contribution is to support the development of a recycling system of packaging in a developing country.

Keywords: Circular economy, Large-scale engineering systems, Complexity, demand-driven, expanded-extruded polystyrene

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