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The Identity of Recycled Plastics: A Vocabulary of Perception

Department of Product Development, Faculty of Design Sciences, University of Antwerp, Ambtmanstraat 1, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
Department of Marketing, Faculty of Business Economics, University of Antwerp, Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
Research Group CPMT, Department of Materials, Textiles and Chemical Engineering, University of Ghent, Technologiepark Zwijnaarde 130, 9052 Zwijnaarde, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1953;
Received: 23 January 2020 / Revised: 20 February 2020 / Accepted: 28 February 2020 / Published: 4 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recycling for Circularity and Sustainability)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: design from recycling; plastic waste; materials experience; aesthetic perception; circular economy design from recycling; plastic waste; materials experience; aesthetic perception; circular economy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Veelaert, L.; Du Bois, E.; Moons, I.; De Pelsmacker, P.; Hubo, S.; Ragaert, K. The Identity of Recycled Plastics: A Vocabulary of Perception. Sustainability 2020, 12, 1953.

AMA Style

Veelaert L, Du Bois E, Moons I, De Pelsmacker P, Hubo S, Ragaert K. The Identity of Recycled Plastics: A Vocabulary of Perception. Sustainability. 2020; 12(5):1953.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Veelaert, Lore, Els Du Bois, Ingrid Moons, Patrick De Pelsmacker, Sara Hubo, and Kim Ragaert. 2020. "The Identity of Recycled Plastics: A Vocabulary of Perception" Sustainability 12, no. 5: 1953.

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