CIRCULÉIRE meet students at IMR’s Lab in Mullingar for a workshop about circular economy
Transition Year students learned about circularity through life-cycle analysis of a smartphone
“Do you know what circular economy is?” followed by nods and curious eyes was how CIRCULÉIRE started its presentation as part of Engineers Week 2022. Later on during the workshop, students reflected on their smartphones and how they could redesign them considering the circular economy through a practical exercise using the principles of life-cycle analysis (LCA). LCA is a method used to evaluate the environmental impact of a product through its life cycle: extraction and processing of the raw materials, manufacturing, distribution, use, recycling, and disposal, for example.
CIRCULÉIRE welcomed Transition Year students from St. Oliver’s Community College and Bush Post Primary School on the 2nd and 3rd of March. Furthermore, on March 9th, students from Clonaslee College also joined the activities at Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) Lab in Mullingar. Approximately 70 post-primary students (15-16 years old) and their respective teachers participated in the outreach programme.
“We like to use smartphones as an example to talk about circular economy because usually young people are extremely connected to their device, but they don’t know or haven’t had the opportunity to consider the design and production processes before it comes to their hands or even what happens to their old phones when they buy a new one”, explains Dr Geraldine Brennan, CIRCULÉIRE’s Lead and IMR’s Head of Circular Economy.
Students also had the chance to see 3D printing machines, collaborative robots, and experience virtual and augmented reality.
“We really enjoyed the experience and some of our students chatting away about 3D printing and some of the robots on the bus on the way back to school. They gained a lot from the experience. It’s great to bring STEM to life and see its applications in person”, said James Madden, Science teacher at Clonaslee College.
CIRCULÉIRE in collaboration with IMR’s Outreach team have been working to reach out to students and talk about circular economy and its role in the transition towards a more sustainable world.
Last year, students were introduced to the cutting-edge technologies that are being used in manufacturing. The group from Clonaslee College, for example, participated in an initiative during Science Week 2021, where they were invited to submit a video recording answering the question “How could circular economy be implemented in your school?”. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, their opportunity to visit IMR’s Lab had to be delayed until March 9th 2022.
“IMR’s outreach team aims to engage students from all backgrounds, in Manufacturing and STEM education programmes in order to increase awareness and improve knowledge of its role in our society”, says Isabel Meza, Outreach and Education Programme Lead.
CIRCULÉIRE is a public-private partnership co-created by Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) and three strategic partners: the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and EIT Climate-KIC. Together with industry partners CIRCULÉIRE aims to assist manufacturers and their supply chains to switch from linear to circular business models.
Read more about CIRCULÉIRE here.