A series of kitchen appliances with an environmentally friendly approach
Loop is a series of kitchen appliances with an environmentally friendly approach. All the Loop products are using one modular cable to make the user think twice about the number of cables necessary to reduce unnecessary waste. It is designed the the Design For Disassembly-technology, which makes repairs and recycling possible. This has made the circular economy possible – and we have designed a way to connect this to an existing repairing-system.
The goal with the project is to make the lifetime of our products longer, while at the same time making a circular economy possible through putting a value in repairing the product instead of throwing it away. We wanted to create a new way of looking at our kitchen appliances – how can we reduce the raw materials needed to create these kinds of products? Therefore we did a thorough research on how Design For Disassembly works and how we could include this in our project. This also goes hand in hand with the circular economy since it enables repairs. The circular economy of this series was an important factor in our work, since we were very focused on making this project as feasible and close to reality as possible. The result was a series of kitchen appliances based on the Design For Disassembly-technology, with a thought our repairing system to make the lifetime of the products as long as possible.
Overview of the Solution
The inspiration came from visiting a recycling station for electronic waste is Sweden. We were shocked with how many fully functioning products were thrown away – or products which could have been easily repaired. There was a container filled with cables – some of them in their original package. We wanted to create a new way to look at kitchen appliances, and make a series of appliances with an environmentally friendly approach. This was done by focusing on four important aspects: a modular cable, design for disassembly, circular economy system and timeless design. Since the project was made under a time limit, our main focus was on one of the products from the series, the toaster. Producing a cable requires huge amounts of energy and raw materials – an environmental issue we rarely think of. To encourage people to think twice about the amount of cables we are using, Loop uses a single modular cable that works for all kitchen appliances.
Design For Disassembly makes every material recyclable and repairs possible since no parts are held together with permanent fixings. Today many electronic devices are held together by glue which makes separation of materials difficult, but this method is becoming more and more common and something we want to include in our product. Instead of using permanent fixings the inner parts are put together by a hooking system, and the remaining parts are held together by the legs which function as screws.
This makes the disassembly and the repair of the product possible. Therefore we designed a system for how these products would be repaired – focusing on the Swedish market since we are from Sweden. There is an existing system of tool repairers – where the tool manufacturer collaborates with the different repair stations. We would like to connect Loop to these stations – and have designed the service and an app showing how this would be done.
Our final goal was to create a timeless design. Since we want the user to keep the toaster for a very long time, the aesthetic value has to remain high – how can we reach this goal? We did a lot of research on objects we considered to be timeless, both design classics and discreet objects with a design you don’t notice. This was done to create an as long lasting design as possible.
Loop kitchen appliances highlights the value of the cable and the repairability of a product to give it a longer lifetime, and that is what makes Loop unique.
Ebba Kjellin and Linnea Hagborg
Lund University, School of Industrial Design,