• After 115 entries were received, awards were given to: compostable coffee capsules; portable biodegradable batteries; accessories and furniture made from discontinued spare parts; environmentally friendly caterpillar traps; a trailer made from parts of other vehicles; and wine-bottle caps and carry bags made from fishing nets • The award forms part of the Catalan Ecodesign Strategy, which promotes environmental criteria to encourage the development of products that are more sustainable, safer, less toxic, and consume fewer resources and raw materials
Josep Rull, the Minister of Territory and Sustainability, presented the 2nd Catalonia Ecodesign Award at a ceremony this evening. The award is an evolution of the Design for Recycling Award granted by the Catalan Waste Agency (ARC) starting in 2001. The Ecodesign Award has a broader scope, as it incorporates all the factors that relate to product sustainability such as conserving resources, designing new models of consumption, and optimizing end-of-life processes. The award is held every two years and recognizes products on the market, products under development and product-fostering strategies that have been designed in such a way as to improve the product’s environmental performance throughout its life cycle. There were 115 entries in this edition of the award.
Compostable Coffee Capsules
In the Product category, the award went to Cafès Novell SA, which has produced the first compostable coffee capsules on the market that are compatible with Nespresso coffee machines.
The judging panel felt that the product offered a sustainable alternative to the growing number of coffee capsules made of non-biodegradable plastic or aluminium, all of which become waste. While conventional capsules generate an average of between 1.5 and 2 grams of waste, and are difficult to recycle, Cafès Novell capsules are made from a corn-based polymer that takes between 4 and 12 weeks to biodegrade. They can be disposed of along with other organic waste.
Three other products received a special mention in this category: Planet FR and EcoPlanet FR technical fabrics (Vertisol Internacional SRL), which offer solar protection for curtains and roller blinds made of recycled polyester; the Comexi Offset CI8 printer (Comexi Group Industries SAU), which was developed for the packaging industry and offers solvent-free printing, consumes half the usual amount of ink, and drastically reduces operating times; and Ecoxop (Proquimia SA), a water-soluble capsule system with ecological certification for concentrated cleaning products.
In the Product under Development category, the award went to Juan Pablo Esquivel from the Barcelona Microelectronics Institute (IMB-CNM-CSIC) for his Powerpad portable biodegradable batteries.
These batteries are made from cellulose, carbon, beeswax and other abundant, low-cost organic materials, and can be produced using efficient, large-scale manufacturing processes. Biodegradable batteries open the door to the possibility of moving away from lithium and other polluting metals, and offering a solution to one of the biggest environmental problems currently facing the field of waste management: namely, recycling conventional batteries and battery packs. Esquivel’s batteries also boast an innovative and original design.
Special mentions also went to Cocoro, Advanced Lingerie for Periods (Femmefleur SCCL), which consists of fine, washable and reusable underwear that absorbs menstrual fluid, vaginal discharge and mild urine leakage; and to Eudec Food (Sehrs Food Area SL in collaboration with Inèdit Innovació SL) for its environmentally friendly design of a cardboard box for ready-made meals.
Designer Objects Made from Discontinued Furniture
The award in the Strategy category went to the Remix Collection Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, which was produced by BD Barcelona 1972 SL in collaboration with Ramón Úbeda Castro and Curro Claret. The designers used their creativity to produce a collection of accessories and furniture made from spare parts for discontinued furniture. By repurposing these items, the designers prevented them from being destroyed and becoming waste. They also raised consumer awareness of the importance of conserving resources.
Each year, waste collection centres in Catalonia collect more than 200,000 tonnes of bulky waste and wood. The life cycle of many of these waste items could have been prolonged if they had been adequately repaired or restored.
The judging panel also gave special mentions to La Cuina Veritas (Veritas Kitchen in collaboration with the Alícia Foundation and SIFU), an initiative that consists of making new food products with added value from food that is not suitable for sale in its stores; and “Sustainability in Design Education”, an educational model developed by LCI Barcelona Design School aimed at incorporating the culture of sustainability across design disciplines at the service of people.
Caterpillar Traps, Trailers and Net Bags
There were three winners in the Young Design category:
Pine Helper, an improved and more environmentally friendly version of the traps designed to combat infestations of the pine processionary caterpillar. The trap was designed by Laura Perdomo Caso from the Higher School of Art and Design of Catalonia (ESDAP), Barcelona Llotja Centre. The judging panel praised the trap’s improved usability and environmental performance, open design and use of biodegradable plastics, which perfects the design of a product that is already on the market. The design of the trap is shared under an open commercial licence. Users purchase the necessary files to print the parts of the trap in 3D and then put the trap together by following the instructions.
The second winner was Blau Orgàsmic, developed by Ioana Crasovan from IED Barcelona Higher School of Design. The project comprises a reusable wine-bottle cap and carry bag made from discarded fishing nets retrieved from Barcelona Port. The judging panel praised the new lease of life that the project gave to this abundant resource and raw material. Together, Catalan ports generate more than 20 tonnes of nets per year, in addition to those which are left on the seabed.
The third award went to Chukudu 2.0, designed by Alessandro Asnaghi Gordillo from IED Barcelona Higher School of Design. The project comprises an adjustable trailer made from discarded bicycle parts and locally produced materials. The project’s aim was to produce a cheap form of transport made from everyday items that could be used in developing countries for activities such as transporting sick and injured people to hospital along unpaved roads.
The Government of Catalonia’s Commitment to Ecodesign
The promotion of design for recycling began some years ago in response to the need to repurpose the recycled materials obtained through the selective collection of municipal, industrial and construction waste. The idea was also conceived to incorporate the concepts of recyclability and waste minimization into the design of new products. Currently, the principle of ecodesign also encourages product designers to take other environmental factors into consideration, such as water and energy consumption and air emissions.
The Government of Catalonia developed an interdepartmental ecodesign programme to achieve greater eco-efficiency by reducing the consumption of raw materials and energy, and reducing the amount of waste and emissions generated (and their associated costs). As a result, it has managed to establish a proactive, supportive environment that lends added value and responsibility to the products and services made and sold in Catalonia. This initiative has increased companies’ competitiveness, along with their social and environmental responsibility.
In 2015, the Government approved the Catalan Ecodesign Strategy towards a circular and eco-innovative economy (Ecodiscat). The aim of this eco-innovation tool is to promote the circular economy through ecodesign and help achieve greater sustainability in the production and consumption of products. In short, ecodesign incorporates environmental criteria to encourage the development of products that are more sustainable, safer, less toxic, and consume fewer resources and raw materials.