Skip to main content

Activating Circular Services in the Electric and Electronic Sector

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - C-SERVEES (Activating Circular Services in the Electric and Electronic Sector)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2019-10-31

WEEE (waste of electrical and electronic equipment) is one the fastest growing waste streams in the EU, with a generation of more than 12 million tonnes estimated for 2020. WEEE is a complex mixture of both valuable and hazardous materials and substances. The improvement of WEEE prevention, collection and recovery is essential for developing the circular economy and enhancing resource efficiency. This will require new approaches in the design, manufacturing, use and end of life of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE).

C-SERVEES is a four-year project, concluding in 2022, that aims to boost a resource-efficient circular economy in the electrical and electronic (E&E) sector through the development, testing, validation and transfer of new Circular Economic Business Models (CEBMs) based on systemic eco-innovative services that include: eco-leasing of EEE, product customization, improved WEEE management, and ICT services to support the other eco-services.

The techno-economic, environmental and social viability of the new CEBMs will be validated through demonstrations dealing with four target products belonging to different EEE categories: large household appliances, IT equipment, telecommunications equipment, and consumer equipment. These EEE categories together account for 77% of WEEE collected in the EU.

The main objectives of C-SERVEES are:
• Develop circular economic business models for the E&E sector
• Develop ICT tools for bidirectional communication and secure information exchange throughout the EEE value chain to support new business models
• Implement and validate the new circular economic business model
• Provide key enabling tools for boosting the replicability and transferability
• Maximise the innovation impacts of the project for contributing to the uptake of the project results for growth and jobs

The project will thus contribute to transform the E&E sector into circular and 4.0 raising new opportunities for end-users, such as their involvement in the design or their access to a product as a service, and for the social economy.
During the first period of the project, the consortium has developed a circular reference model for the E&E sector (REF-CIRCMODE), based on circular economy principles and stakeholders’ requirements.

To learn about such requirements, a set of surveys on the barriers and opportunities in the E&E sector were designed and run among 7 stakeholder groups (Designers, Suppliers, Manufacturers, Retailers, Business users, Household users and WEEE handlers). The results and conclusions were reported and provided as input for the definition of new CEBM and the development of ICT tools.

To define the REF-CIRCMODE, the consortium has worked on assessing existing circular economy business models, tailoring BS 8001 Circular Economy Principles and defining Circularity Indicators for the E&E sector, also outlining Product Service Systems that integrate E&E products and sectors. Then, a REF-CIRCMODE conceptual organigram was developed and assessed against relevant EC policy documents, integrating the findings of the survey too. The final Reference model has started to be adapted to the 4 demonstration products of the project, to end up with a specific CEBM for each of them.

Furthermore, the initial steps to build the project ICT tools were taken, focusing on the assessment of stakeholders needs to determine the ICT tools and the functionalities which are needed by the industry and recycling partners. A Minimum Value Product roadmap and a Community test environment (CTE) were produced, and a clickable demo was made available for testing user experience and validating design in a realistic environment. Latest developments have focused on the core functionalities, as well as on the development of the platform.

As for the demonstrations activities, which aim at showing how the new CEBMs and eco-services can be implemented and behave in the E&E sector, the partners have established a baseline for each product (washing machine, printer, ALM and TV set) to build upon the current system and evolve towards a circular economy-oriented model according to the framework developed for the REF-CIRCMODE. The outcome of this work was reported in D4.1 Framework for setting up and running the demonstrations.

Alternatively, the consortium has recently started working on the optimization and the validation of the circular economic business models and eco-services of the project, with the preliminary environmental, economic and social analyses for current products and business models.

On another hand, the initial versions of a market analysis and the exploitation plan were prepared. Additionally, an IPR, Dissemination & Exploitation Board (IPREB) was constituted and the data management plan of the project was also developed in this period.

Many activities were performed following the project communication and dissemination strategy, aiming also at engaging stakeholders in the C-SERVEES network. In addition, an external Advisory Board with representatives from different stakeholder groups was set up.

The project was disseminated through different means: social media (Twitter and LinkedIn), publications/workshops in relevant EEE-related events (CARE INNOVATION 2018, PLATE 2019, ISWA World Congress 2019, Sardinia Symposium 2019), project presentations in Europe and worldwide events, 2 online newsletters and dissemination material.
The E&E sector has not undertaken the changes required at the business model level for a true transition to circular economy. C-SERVEES will make significant progress beyond the state of the art in circular economy in the E&E sector at different levels:

Circular economy knowledge and practice
New circular economy business models (CEBM), including a reference business model for the E&E sector and specific business models for each target product.

Eco-design of EEE
Systematic implementation of ecodesign in the E&E sector through a strong cooperation between all actors in the value chain, with no significant losses of performance for consumers.

EEE eco-leasing
Development of EEE eco-leasing services through the transition of product ownership structures towards an increased producer responsibility model.

WEEE re-use and remanufacturing
Improved closed-loop supply chains to manage WEEE, including the use of ICT tools and user involvement (via living labs).

WEEE recycling
Improvement of current WEEE treatment practices to enable a recycling of plastics and other critical materials present in WEEE.

ICT services
New ICT solutions will be provided for secure information exchange throughout value chains.

C-SERVEES will have a clear impact the circular economy in the E&E sector, by setting the foundations for realistic market-ready solutions. It will allow obtaining economic benefits for the EEE producers and other actors in the EEE value chain, as well as resulting in beneficial impacts not only for the environment but also for the EU society by creating green employment.
The project will result in an estimated economic benefit of 38.84 M€ over the period 2022-2026, which, considering the project budget (8.03 M€), yields a ROI~4.6. It will generate in the mid-term an economic benefit of 28.4 M€/year, with about 355 green employments (including direct and indirect jobs) and a total reduction of 2,620 tonnes CO2 eq/year.
Schematic overview of C-SERVEES project