|MTEC Thailand shapes course and research around design for a circular economy|
Thailand’s National Metal and Materials Technology Center (MTEC) has been putting considerable effort into communicating circular economy design criteria to businesses, while also launching research of its own to support these efforts, especially when it comes to plastics.
It has built on the success of its Design for a Circular Economy (DE4CE) training course, which it first ran in July 2021, with a follow-up course in March this year, a design challenge for participating businesses (with final presentations due in November) and a new R&D program aimed at improving the quality of Thailand’s post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics.
The online courses were organized in collaboration with Mattias Lindahl, a professor from the Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, Sweden. Witchuda Daud of MTEC explains that this approach to design, including aspects of PCR plastics production, quality assurance and materials traceability, is still new to both the public and private sectors in Thailand. The first course attracted a total of 213 participants, with 359 taking part in the second.
“In conjunction with this year’s intensive training, six companies were selected from 20 applicants to participate in the demonstration program,” says Daud. Here, solutions are designed and realized according to circular economy principles, with guidance from the MTEC research team.
In parallel, MTEC has been carrying out its own assessment of the ‘circular economy readiness’ of different PCR polymers. Part of its remit is to improve the competitiveness of the Thai secondary plastics value chain. To that end, MTEC is engaging in a new R&D program to improve the quality of PCR plastics.
“This will encompass technological developments and the application of digital technology, such as AI, to predict [the presence of] potentially toxic substances, including non-intentionally-added substances (NIAS) in feedstock and PCR plastics to ensure the safety of recirculated materials,” says Daud.