As designing with recycled materials is becoming indispensable in the context of a circular economy, we argue that understanding how recycled plastics are perceived by stakeholders involved in the front end of the design process, is essential to achieve successful application in practice, beyond the current concept of surrogates according to industry. Based on existing frameworks, 34 experiential scales with semantic opposites were used to evaluate samples of three exemplary recycled plastics by two main industrial stakeholders: 30 material engineers and 30 designers. We describe four analyses: (i) defining experiential material characteristics, (ii) significant differences between the materials, (iii) level of agreement of respondents, and (iv) similarities and differences between designers and engineers. We conclude that the three materials have different perceptual profiles or identities that can initiate future idea generation for high-quality applications. The study illustrates the potential of this evaluation method. We propose that designers can facilitate the valorization and adoption of these undervalued recycled materials, first by industry and ultimately by consumers as well.
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