Designing Away Waste: A Comparative Analysis of Urban Reuse and Remanufacture Initiatives
Journal article, 2019

In order to transform the economy into one that is circular, that recovers most materials through reuse, remanufacturing and recycling, these activities need to grow significantly. Waste management has substantially incorporated recycling as an end-of-life treatment but has still largely failed to incorporate remanufacturing and reuse as possible material recovery routes. This article aims to provide useful information to establish centers for urban remanufacture (CUREs), by analyzing fifteen existing initiatives that facilitate reuse and remanufacture by providing access to secondary materials or manufacturing tools. The study consists of a review of selected initiatives complemented with targeted interviews to fill in missing information. Most initiatives provided access to secondary materials (13 of 15 initiatives), and almost all used different manufacturing tools (14 of 15 initiatives). Besides their regular opening hours, initiatives were mainly engaged in capacity building activities, which were done through predefined or improvised workshops. Most initiatives relied on external support to finance their operations (9 of 15 initiatives). However, one of the self-financed initiatives is the oldest initiative in the study, operating since 1998. Based on the results and tacit knowledge collected in this study, a framework is suggested to serve as a guide for establishing future CUREs.



grass-root initiatives

maker movement

circular economy



Isabel Ordonez Pizarro

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Design and Human Factors

Oskar Rexfelt

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Design and Human Factors

Shea Hagy

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Building Technology

Luisa Unkrig

Technische Universität Berlin


2313-4321 (ISSN)

Vol. 4 2

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified

Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified



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