In a linear economy, a product is manufactured and sold to a customer. Then, little concern is given to what the user actually does with it when they have it. However, in a circular economy where the aim is to circulate products at their highest level of value, the customer’s behaviour can become an important part of the system. Circular design strategies have tended to focus on the physical aspects of a product (e.g., disassembly, material selection), but the design of products and services can also have an influence on user behaviour and, to date, this aspect of circular design has not been fully explored. This project aims to define what key user behaviours are required for circular business models to work and to outline how design can enable these ‘circular behaviours’. This research project consists of a literature review, case study analysis and expert interviews with practitioners. A theoretical framework for designing products and services to encourage circular behaviour is developed. This work provides an initial step towards a better understanding of the user’s role in the transition to a circular economy as well as a preliminary model for how design for behaviour change strategies could be implemented in this context.
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