The Circular Economy, Design Thinking and Education for Sustainability

Author: Deborah Andrews

Date of publish: April 2015

Why did we select this research:

Some barriers have to be passed in order to move from the "linear approach" to the circular economy one, in which all steps of the production and consumption process lead to the next one in a sustainable way (meaning that the single-use approach to anything is ditched). This paper focuses on the importance of design (more particularly, sustainable design). 

Key findings:

  • Designers must now respond to very different social, economic and environmental needs and adopt a holistic approach to problem solving; they must change their design thinking and practice and lead the development of the Circular Economy by creating products and services that match all inherent criteria of this model.
  • Learning about sustainability in order to practice sustainable product design can make an impact on the behavior of students in their personal lives and therefore it can be considered education for sustainability (larger impact at the end). 


Andrews, D. (2015). The circular economy, design thinking and education for sustainability. Local Economy, 30(3), 305-315.