Democratic waste handling

User driven innovation the key to sustainable waste handling

The world is drowning in waste, and the need to recycle materials is urgent. In Denmark 84% of the garbage incinerated could have been recycled. Treated properly waste is a valuable resource for new uses. The Design Anthropological Innovation Model (DAIM) includes a pilot project on waste handling. Based at the Danish Design School, the project cooperates with a Danish incineration company, municipalities and citizens to explore new opportunities for waste reduction and recycling through user driven innovation.

How do we meet the challenge of sustainable waste handling? First of all, to know the needs of both professionals and citizens within a community is crucial. This is why the Scandinavian tradition of user involvement as well as participation in decision making in today’s welfare society are key issues in creating a sustainable waste system based on dialogue and local participation. Regarding citizens as the most important contributors to the welfare society is a proof that together we can improve life.

Imagine a town centre where waste management is an important rallying point used actively and committed by citizens. Imagine disposal and recycling adjusted and made an attractive part of urban areas. Imagine recycling stations and waste collection in places where people already go about.

The Design Anthropological Innovation Model (DAIM) is a service design developed through a pilot project on waste handling understood as a broad societal problem. Traditionally, waste management is top-down managed without the involvement of users; citizens as well as professionals. DAIM challenges this tradition and suggests a more democratic model for waste handling. Therefore DAIM is a new and democratic way of dealing with the problems of waste and recycling, that welfare societies are facing.

No technological quick-fix will be able to solve our increasing problems of generating too much waste. Future solutions for sustainable waste handling require active involvement of people outside the narrow circles of professional waste management. Thus the project findings are packaged as a box full of resources for continued innovation of the waste sector based on serious and sustained user involvement.

The DAIM-project has been seleceted to represent Danish design to improve life on the website for the world's largest design award; INDEX AWARD.

See DAIM on

The DAIM pilot project on waste is now available in a 4 min presentation made as inspiration for the internationale INDEX:Award site:

The DAIM pilot project is presented along with other Danish cases, showing design to improve life. See the Danish cases: - or watch the presentation below:

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