Circular Economy in the Manufacturing Industry

The manufacturing sector is fundamental to the global economy, and it would be difficult to imagine a world without it. However, the current system for producing and distributing manufacturing products and services is based on a linear model that is not sustainable in the long term. The use of materials and energy should be reduced, and the end products should be recovered when their lifespan comes to an end.

In 2021, Skills for the Future programme extended its activities to Portugal, where students are involved in immersive entrepreneurship trainings to innovate the manufacturing sector through the lens of the circular economy.

Portugal Idea Camp

The Idea Camp in Portugal took place virtually from 18 – 22 October 2021. 102 students, 12 teachers, and 13 industry mentors participated in the event. The theme was strongly related to environmental sustainability, circular economy and manufacturing. For a week, students worked in teams to come up with solutions to the following industrial challenges of the circular economy in the manufacturing sector:

  1. How to reduce the waste generated in manufacturing processes?
  2. What by-products or waste generated in one manufacturing process could be used in another industry?
  3. How to convince society to use more recycled materials and products?

The best ideas developed were the following:

The products of this team were fruit and jam derivatives. The team would design products from natural raw materials discarded by producers and distribution chains to distinguish themselves from the competition. This idea supports fair and green trade, and it proposes an alternative to commercial products for people with social and environmental concerns.

The students came up with the idea of developing a smartphone application dedicated to the education and support of elderly people. The app would provide virtual education offerings and additional services such as the possibility to purchase medication online.

RE-novei would offer sustainable construction services for parks, gardens, and public places. RE-novei products would be made from recycled materials retrieved from furniture, deteriorated playgrounds, floors, and structures.

We Are Looking for Mentors!

Join us and share your knowledge and experience with student teams a few times over the academic year.