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SME Develops Three Solutions to Become Fully Recyclable

With a clear goal of becoming fully recyclable by 2030, the Danish refrigeration company GRAD took its first steps during our program Green Circular Transition. Using design methods, GRAD developed three main solutions to realize their ambitions

The Results: Disassembling their way to recycling

A three-month program with design tools, workshops, and 1:1 consultancy, left GRAD with three main solutions to how their product become fully recyclable:

  • Design: Now, the product is designed for disassembly and has no permanent binding methods, which allows it to be recycled more easily
  • Distribution: Introducing a take-back-system so the product can be reused or recycled properly
  • Recycling/Upcycling: Creating systems to recycle parts correctly

“Working with GCO and the DDC enabled us to design a fully circular product and figure out the right processes for design, collection, and recycling,” says Kenneth Jakobsen, VP Operations at GRAD.

One of GRAD’s ambitions is to help its customers repair the product if it breaks. This is done by putting a QR-code on the product with guidelines to fix it at home. Another part of the take-back system is to design the product in such a way that they can take it back, fix it if it’s broken, and sell it again. Or reuse materials from products that are no longer used to make new products.

GRAD is already implementing the solutions and is hoping to see results in the near future.

The next step for the business is to obtain a Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certificate and to establish a circular economy implementation plan, with the main aim of creating fully recycled products by 2030.

The Challenge: From single to full focus

GRAD’s goal was to make a fully recyclable product that would inspire both their business and future products to follow.

Originally, GRAD focused on the material side of the product. However, as the project progressed, the focus became more holistic, allowing them to work with the entire company and their strategy to minimize its production footprint.

“Initially, we were only going to look at the materials, but it made more sense to be more holistic about it and focus on things like value propositions for our customers”

Julia Porter-Dragsted

Supply Chain Manager, GRAD

The Approach: A workbook is the new best friend

GRAD reached their results by the following approach:

  • A three-month course in the Green Circular Transition (GCO) program, facilitated by us and with the consulting firm In futurum as advisors
  • Co-creation with customers to provide valuable feedback on the product and its use
  • A workbook tool helped GRAD create overview and consolidate the work for their circular implementations

“Throughout the program, we have kept close contact with our advisor, who has been excellent and very helpful in creating different workshops, each with a different focus, and with homework in between, making sure that we got the most out of each session”

Julia Porter-Dragsted

Supply Chain Manager, GRAD

The workbook is amongst the tools we introduced GRAD to during the program. The workbook is essentially an overview tool that helps companies understand how and what they’re going to do in their new circular business model. It consists of the journey from the current business model to the new more circular business model. Most of the things companies work on in the Green Circular Transition program, need to be integrated into the workbook.

“The workbook has been very helpful in creating an overview and consolidating the work - we will use it for communication and for all products in the future”

Julia Porter-Dragsted

Supply Chain Manager, GRAD


Get started with your own circular transition

About GRAD

GRAD creates cooling machines with a focus on having a low CO2 footprint and a long life span. They have a clear objective: “We want to refine the global bottle cooling industry and change the way we savor our favorite beverages through creating products with longevity,” says Kenneth Jakobsen, VP Operations at GRAD. By changing routines and providing convenience, GRAD products are set to enhance the experience of serving beverages.

Founded 2015
Employees 9

About GCO

Green Circular Transition (Grøn Cirkulær Omstilling) is a national program that helps small and medium-sized Danish enterprises develop green circular business models. 

The program runs until 2022 with rolling admissions and offers different programs and courses depending on the company’s needs.  

Read more about the program here.

Apply here.

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