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Master's Thesis | Individual | 10 Weeks | Spring, 2022 | Malmö University | Ongoing as a side project

U-Med (Unused Medications) is a circular model to reduce medication waste in Turkey by exploring alternative use options. I structured the system around dialogue-based interactions with a mobile application and reverse vending machines (RVMs). The system has several stakeholders including patients, doctors, pharmacies, animal shelters, factories and many more that contribute to the system and gain rewards from their actions along with humanistic incentives such as altruism.

🏆 I was awarded the Leapfrogs scholarship from Lund University with this project in 2023.


This scholarship has enabled me to work on U-Med concurrently and supported my efforts in submitting a patent application and continue engaging with stakeholders to bring my project to life.

My Key Learnings

  • Circular design and sustainability

  • Advocacy and project facilitation

  • Idea generation with stakeholders in dynamic work environments

  • Navigating the complex landscape of stakeholders by collaborating with a diverse range of organizations

  • Bridging communication gaps and facilitating collaboration between stakeholders

  • Long-term project sustainability, securing funding and a patent

  • Writing and publishing an academic paper

My Role

  • Research

  • Concept development

  • Stakeholder management

  • Prototyping

  • Usability testing

  • UX/UI design


  • Patients

  • A health centre

  • Pharmacies

  • Animal shelters

  • Pharmaceutical factories

  • NGOs

  • and many more

Project Highlights


Opportunity & Problem

In the initial search for a meaningful master's thesis topic in Sweden, I found myself drawn to the intersection of sustainability and healthcare, two fields close to my heart. One day my gaze fell upon my grey medication bag —filled with unused medications that I brought from Turkey just in incase. My grey bag became the catalyst for my exploration, sparking a journey of curiosity and inspiration.

I started to explore the following questions:

  • "How might we incentivise people in Turkey to share or safely dispose of their unused and unexpired medicines, fostering increased healthcare access through an innovative platform or model?"

  • "How might we inspire pharmaceutical factories and shape legislative decisions on medication distribution, promoting a more sustainable society in both economic and environmental dimensions by showcasing the potential of the platform?"



throw their meds away in the bins


wonders how to properly dispose unused meds


would use unused and donated meds if they have chronic disease


Questionnarie I conducted in Turkey | 2022 | 88 participants

who wouldn't prefer using unused and donated meds would prefer taking the donated unused meds from their doctors

Design Process

In this project, I delved into the medication usage behaviours of patients, as well as the perspectives of health professionals and patients regarding sharing and disposing of medications. Utilising user-centred design and participatory design approaches, a significant portion of the exploration and ideation phases unfolded in Turkey, providing a comprehensive understanding of the local context and cultural nuances. Subsequently, the prototyping phase and thesis completion were conducted in Sweden.

Following the completion of the thesis project in 2022, I received funding in the summer of 2023 for this project. Since then, I have continued engagement with patent applications, NGOs, and pharmaceutical and manufacturing companies in Turkey to actualise this project.




To understand recycling, sustainability, medication usage both in Turkey and around the globe I conducted several design research methods

  • Research
    Literature research and benchmark

  • Observation
    Health centre in Sarıyer, Istanbul

  • Face-to-face & semi-structured interviews
    5 patients, 3 doctors, 3 nurses and
    5 pharmacists, health director in the municipality of Sarıyer, Istanbul.

  • Remote interviews
    A non-profit organisation in Greece called GIVMED that has similar concerns about medication waste.

  • Questionnaire
    Among 88 Turkish citizens



To make sense of the gathered information throughout the exploration phase and find the patterns, I applied the affinity diagramming method and the Golden Circle Model. I synthesised my findings into 10 main categories:

  • Altruism

  • Trust

  • Alternative Use

  • Applied Practice

  • Storage

  • Sense of Community

  • Incentives

  • Monitoring

  • Quick Disposal

  • Legislation

"I use leftover kidney medications for my flowers."

"I've had medications in my drawer for well over a decade, and I'm certain I still have some unexpired leftover painkillers from my previous prescription, despite recently acquiring a new one. I would like to donate, if I could."

"If we ever think of reusing leftover medications on patients, we must monitor them!"


"We've sent leftover medications, including expired ones, to war zones where they are crucially needed by those in desperate circumstances." 

Ideation & Concept


During the ideation and concept phase, to generate ideas and discuss the possible obstacles I utilised several ideation methods:


  • Informal brainstorming workshops

  • Flow diagrams on paper, Miro and Figma

  • Circular Designs Ideation Pack from the Use2Use design toolkit

I utilised selected toolkit cards to spark ideas during informal brainstorming workshops with the participants. One of the significant learnings from this project was navigating dynamic work environments, such as health centres while conducting these workshops.

Final Design

U-Med is a non-profit platform where Turkish citizens can give their leftover medications which are either expired, unexpired, opened or unopened. After the examinations, the people need access the safe medications. The other medications are either sent to be disposed of or to be used in other industries. Users are encouraged to take part in the system with the points assigned to them after each contribution. This concept includes:

  • A mobile application

  • Reverse vending machines (RVMs)

  • Individuals with leftover medications, patients, doctors, pharmacists, pharmaceutical factories,  veterinarians, animals, incineration and irrigation factories and plants

Prototype & test

Prototyping & Test

To test the concept, I followed the methods below:

  • Information Architecture

  • Wireframes

  • UX/UI Design
    Interfaces of both the mobile application and the RVM designed on Figma

  • Physical Prototype
    RVM's body was built with mock-up cardboard, paper plate and paper

  • Usability Test & Wizard of Oz
    I tested the digital prototypes along with the physical prototype of RVM with 5 users from different cultural backgrounds. Based on the insights from the usability tests, the rationalisation of the high-level navigation structure was visualised on a diagram.

Rationalisation of High-Level Navigation-U-Med.png
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