This unit allows students to think critically about technologies and society and how innovation, sustainability and circular economy strategies can be used to create designed solutions through the lens of electronic waste. Electronic waste (e-waste) is the fastest-growing waste stream on our planet and the social, economic and environmental impacts of society's production, consumption and disposal of electronic products are far-reaching, stemming from all stages of the product lifecycle.
Students learn about the impacts of e-waste through understanding the difference between the linear and circular economy models and use this knowledge to explore high-value materials and the importance of product stewardship and designed value. They also explore the ‘Rs of sustainability’ and recognise how these are used and how they can be applied to the designing of products and services whilst also balancing the pillars of sustainability.
Students develop an understanding of the complex connections between the environmental and societal implications of the electronic product lifecycle and explore practical strategies for sustainable design and consumption. Through this, students can become empowered to drive positive change as advocates for sustainability.
Student understanding of the circular economy and design strategies is enhanced with access to 40 interviews and videos created specifically for this unit in collaboration with Comsol. They feature global businesses and experts, providing real-world insights into the consequences of current consumption patterns and showcasing sustainable initiatives and innovations, including circular economy design practices.
Interviews with experts are used throughout the lessons. However, you can access all interviews and video content created for this unit through Vimeo. If you would like more information about the main topics and areas covered by these interviews, we have categorised them to make them easier to find and use in whatever context you see fit!
We also have a library of factsheets available that provide information on topics such as the E-waste crisis, the Rs of Sustainability, and Tools and techniques for iterative learning and Designing for the future.