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From Product to Dust: Looking at the Ways to Regenerate Value in Product Life Cycle

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 July 2019

Baptiste Menu*
Mines Saint-Etienne, Univ Lyon, CNRS, UMR 5307 LGF;
Faucheu Jenny
Mines Saint-Etienne, Univ Lyon, CNRS, UMR 5307 LGF;
Laforest Valérie
Mines Saint-Etienne, UMR 5600 EVS, Institut Fayol, F - 42023 Saint-Etienne
Bassereau Jean-François
Mines Saint-Etienne, Univ Lyon, CNRS, UMR 5307 LGF;
Contact: Menu, Baptiste, Mines Saint-Etienne MPI, France


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The shift from linear to circular patterns is on the way and rise many questions. In the last ten years, reuse and upcycling are gaining more attention. Since reduce and reuse were describe as a priority by the European Union, some leading projects are unveiled in different countries. Scale and quality of those projects push the reuse issue out of the shadow, far from original prejudices who associate waste and reuse to « poverty » and « Do It Yourself ». Although Reuse emerge as a prominent question, the idea and boundaries of « what is reuse » appears to be blur and not clearly understood. This situation lead to general incomprehension, even for professionals. Reuse, repurpose, upcycling and recycling are usually considered to wear the same meaning despite a huge difference on what it implies.

In this paper we will examine these different notions through a pedagogical case study. We will draw the different ways to regenerate value at all steps of product life cycle in a precise manner. This allows to better insight the meaning of those issues in the case of student design education. In the same time, it aims to be a tool for teaching sustainable design and waste management.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
© The Author(s) 2019


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