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Activating Circular Services in the Electric and Electronic Sector

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - C-SERVEES (Activating Circular Services in the Electric and Electronic Sector)

Periodo di rendicontazione: 2021-05-01 al 2022-10-31

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.

C-SERVEES is a four-year project, concluded in October 2022, that aimed 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.

Main objectives of C-SERVEES were:
• Develop circular economic business models for the E&E sector in 4 products: washing machines and TV set form ARCELIK, Printer and toner cartridges from LEXMARK, ALM systems from ADVA.
• 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 techno-economic, environmental and social viability of the new CEBMs has been validated through demonstrations dealing with four target products belonging to different EEE categories: large household appliances, IT equipment, telecommunications equipment, and consumer equipment.

Additionally, potential measures have been identified and proposed to improve policy related to the developed products and services in the E&E sector, and a set of policy recommendations to overcome legislative barriers were made.

The project has also developed ICT tools that support and enhance the CEBMs. The ICT platform, of interest to policymakers, allows for bidirectionality, information about traceability, product composition and characteristics, development of indicators, modelling, citizen science, user habits, etc. This is based on a user profile that can be used for distribution, sizing and design of e-waste management facilities, logistics, etc.

There are still challenges ahead. All actors in the value chain need to be connected with each other and interventions are required concerning user habits, the design of products, eco-leasing, pay per use, re-use, remanufacturing, repair, refurbishment, recycling, administration, finance, regulation, collection, separation, sorting, distribution and commerce; and all of these right across Europe. The C-SERVEES project presents its results in a manner that allows implementation and further research to be undertaken to enable the use of CEBMs, based on those developed in the project, in the future.

C-SERVEES project has given the consortium the opportunity to think about all the circular solutions that are currently offered in the market, how many are applied, if something more could be done in the EEE sector and how we could improve the circular actions of the end-user.
C-SERVEES aims to change the way electronic and electrical (E&E) products are developed and consumed and to make all stakeholders think about new approaches to their design and production, distribution and use, and end-of-life (EoL).

The overall principles of circular economy (CE) are generally accepted but integrating them in business models remains challenging. Despite various types of drivers, the adoption of circular economic business models (CEBMs) in the sector of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) is not widespread. The lack of a conceptual framework to classify or denominate CEBMs and the concomitant uncertainty around the benefits of CEBMs makes matters worse.

The C-SERVEES project addressed these challenges by developing a CEBM for the EEE sector, including guidance for its implementation by manufacturers developing product-specific business models. It then adapts and applies this CEBM to four items of EEE.

The demonstrations from ADVA, Arçelik and Lexmark companies, were aimed at testing and validating the new CEBMs by integrating four basic pillars: eco-design, eco-leasing, improved WEEE management and ICT services. In addition, the testing of end-users’ acceptance was addressed via surveys and living labs.

The project has also developed three ICT tools to support the effective use of the CEBMs through value chain transparency, connect stakeholders with each other and enable optimized reverse logistics.

The project conducted an evaluation of the proposed solutions by applying life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA) to the demonstrations to measure their performance in relation to the three pillars of sustainability: environmental life cycle assessment (LCA), life cycle costing (LCC) and social life cycle assessment (S-LCA). This allowed the comparison with the products in their conventional scenario (linear economy models).

Furthermore, this evaluation is complemented with a socio-cultural acceptance and public perception analysis to establish how end users and society perceive the problems associated with e-waste and its management, as well as their acceptance of the new circular products and services provided.

As a final conclusion the project identified opportunities and barriers and provided a set of recommendations to foster the opportunities and overcome the barriers.

The principal exploitation routes are focused on the implementation of the circular actions that have been proven to be more successful into the real business framework of the industrial partners in charge of C-SERVEES demos.
Relying on the CEBM framework developed and defined in the project and considering the evidence of the demonstration activities and of the analysis carried in other parts of the research, the work provided support to industrial partners in the follow up of the implementation activities, by finalizing the CEBM design for each product and setting up the roadmap for future testing and improvement.

The project communication and dissemination strategy has framed a set of activities carried out to maximize the impact of the project and contributing to the uptake of the project results, as well as to engage stakeholders in the C-SERVEES network. External Advisory Board was set up and has interacted with the consortium in the project.
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 CEBM including a reference business model for the E&E sector and specific business models for each target product.

Eco-design of EEE: through a strong cooperation between all actors in the value chain, with no significant losses of performance for consumers.

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

WEEE re-use and remanufacturing: 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 solutions provided for secure information exchange throughout value chains.

C-SERVEES and its clear impact in market-ready solutions, will allow obtaining economic benefits for the EEE producers and other actors in the EEE value chain, as well as beneficial impacts for the EU society
Schematic overview of C-SERVEES project