The project deals with a specific environmental problem: the consumption of water in household appliances. We used an interdisciplinary approach to design a technological system to recycle dishwasher wastewater in the cultivation of edible and ornamental plants, to limit domestic water use, reducing the amount of wastewater released in the environment and valorizing nutrients present in wastewater, and to improve the indoor environmental conditions (air quality, temperature and humidity). Furthermore, the system will produce healthy and safe zero-mile food, beneficial to user behaviour and health awareness. The project was patented in Italy (No. 102019000004583, filed on 03/27/2019)

 The problem of water consumption is addressed (i) by selecting innovative washing technologies in order to reduce the consumption and use of low-impact detergents; (ii) integrating the treatment of the nutrients present in the wastewater with the cultivation of ornamental/edible plants that conclude the process of filtration of wastewater and improve the quality of indoor air; (iii) developing a new type of household appliance, an interactive appliance able to clean flatware and to produce zero-mile vegetables, affecting food habits and environmental awareness of the users.

 The research is based on experimental and user-centered methodologies applied for the evaluation of technologies and the development of the demonstration prototype and has the general objective of promoting new types of products able to reduce the environmental impact of domestic activities and support the modification in ecological sense of user behavior.

 To include all the necessary skills for the development of this project a group of researchers have been built. Fiammetta Costa, Raffaella Mangiarotti and Giorgio Buiatti from the Design Department and Manuela Antonelli and Michele Di Mauro from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department of the Politecnico di Milano; Antonio Ferrante and Giacomo Cocetta from the Department of Agriculture of the Milan University, as well as LM, MCT and Roberta Congestri from the Department of Biology of the Tor Vergata University are involved together with some private companies.

 Costa F., Amati A., Antonelli M., Cocetta G., Di Mauro M., Ferrante A., Krasojevic K., Mangiarotti R., Meraviglia M., Nebuloni A., Perego P., Sironi R., Spanu F., Standoli C.E., Vignati G., Volonté P., Ziyaee M. and Migliore L. (2018) - DESIGNING THE FUTURE: AN INTELLIGENT SYSTEM FOR ZERO-MILE FOOD PRODUCTION BY UPCYCLING WASTEWATER. Proceedings, 2(22): 1367 DOI: 10.3390/proceedings2221367

 The project deals with the environmental problem of water consumption. The aim of this work is to experiment the recycling of dishwasher wastewater through its reuse in growing edible vegetables or ornamental plants; this can also accomplish the valorization of nutrients present in the wastewater. This new process allows to ensure washing functions coupled with vegetables production and to affect users’ environmental awareness and habits, following a user-centered system design approach to understand the users and involve them actively in the system development. The presented work is also aimed to experiment a multidisciplinary approach in order to face environmental problems.