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Prioritizing ‘Design for Recyclability’ Guidelines, Bridging the Gap between Recyclers and Product Developers


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This paper presents a Design For eXcellence (DFX) method for recyclability, resulting in a practical tool for product engineers. The tool enables an assessment of concept products as well as existing products and focuses on small domestic appliances recycled by shredding. The method enables quantifying recyclability performances of products by integrating a set of design guidelines, a recycling performance evaluation method, and prioritized improvement suggestions. After having the method implemented into a design support tool, a number of tests were executed. The preliminary tests of the method yield promising results, meeting expert expectations.
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Prioritizing ‘Design for Recyclability’ guidelines,
bridging the gap between recyclers and product developers
Harm Peters1, Marten Toxopeus1, Juan Jauregui-Becker1, Mark-Olof Dirksen2
1 Laboratory of Design, Production and Management, Faculty of Engineering Technology,
University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands
2 Innovation Domestic Appliances, Consumer Lifestyle,
Royal Philips Electronics, The Netherlands
Recycling has proven to be an end of life method that gives rise to a more efficient usage of materials. However, most
products are not designed with recycling as an end of life scenario in mind. In order to improve this situation, this paper
presents a Design For eXcellence (DFX) method for recyclability, resulting in a practical tool for product engineers. The
tool enables an assessment of the concept at an early stage, as decisions not data are the input for the tool. This
provides information and feedback when it is most needed. The method is based on ongoing research aiming at closing
the loop of the material streams. This Design for Recyclability (DFR) method focuses on small domestic appliances
recycled in Europe and incorporates potential future legislation. The Design for Recyclability method has three main
components, namely: a set of design guidelines, a recycling performance evaluation method, and prioritized
improvement suggestions. The DFR guidelines are to be used during the concept and embodiment design phases by
indicating how to improve the recyclability of new products. The performance evaluation method allows engineers to
obtain an indication of the recyclability of a concept or product whereby comparisons can be made and improvements
quantatively measured. Furthermore, the method has been implemented into an accessible computer application. The
software supports the three steps of the method. This flexible and dynamic approach offers the possibility to assess
product concepts or existing products on recyclability in the early stages of the product creation process. Experts from
both Van Gansewinkel, a large recycler in the Netherlands and from Royal Philips Consumer Electronics were actively
involved in the development of both the method and the tool. Preliminary testing of the tool by assessment of products
available on the market, yields promising results.
Design; recyclability; recycling; tool
With increased environmental awareness and depleting resources,
efficient recycling of products becomes more of an imperative
requirement for both society and producers.
Most products available nowadays in the market are not designed
with the end of life scenario of recycling in mind. In order to change
this current situation, companies have to adopt new design
paradigms where the ability to recycle a product is taken into
consideration from the start of product conceptualization. In this
context, this paper presents a Design For eXcellence method,
focusing on maximizing a product’s recyclability. Recyclability is
here defined as; the affordance a product has for recovering as
much components and materials as possible (quantity) with the
highest possible purity (quality) by the least amount of effort (ease)
with existing recycling technologies.
The ‘ability’ part of Design for Recyclability is a performance
indicator [1]. The performance indicator expresses how well the
product can be recycled. Design for Recyclability enables engineers
in obtaining an indicator score of the recycling performance after
applying the method, while the currently widely used term, Design
for Recycling, purely focuses on method and directions.
The development of Design for Recyclability methods has currently
taken more importance, especially in Best in Class industries, as a
way to standardize and popularize the implementation of such
approaches within companies.
Actually, various publications describe design for
recycling/recyclability guidelines [2-9]. Most of them are very
general and do not provide concrete steps, actions or solutions. For
example, they propose to ‘minimize material diversity’, without
stating which materials to avoid or are of preference. Often
guidelines concern ‘recycling’ in general and not a specific industrial
recycling process, containing various guidelines for manual
disassembly, automated disassembly, and dismantling. Most sets of
guidelines described are a combination of different recycling
processes. This may be the desired approach when a product is
intended to be recycled by different recycling processes.
Alternatively, designing a product by focusing on a specific likely
recycling process can result in fewer compromises and minimising
the guidelines required to be considered, thus making applying the
guidelines easier. At present the most specific information is
outlined in the VDI 2243 guideline, providing a checklist, practical
hints, and examples [10].
Additionally a model linked to CAD to assess the recyclability of a
product is reported [11]. The model evaluates a specific product for
which design choices are already made. On the other hand the
purpose of the guidelines is to support engineers in making these
design choices at the front end of the design process, before the
product is developed.
19th CIRP International Conference on Life Cycle Engineering, Berkeley, 2012
Design for Recycling guidelines have been around for two decades,
yet closed-loop recycling is still more of an exception than standard
practice. It is assumed that general design guidelines are not
sufficient to achieve (improved) closed-loop recycling or that the
guidelines are simply not applied.
Therefore, this paper describes a DFX methodology capable of
providing engineers with clear and complete Design for
Recyclability guidelines, as well as the possibility to assess a
product to obtain an indication of its recyclability performance.
Section 2 describes the theoretical basis for developing a DFX
methodology. Section 3 presents the application of the DFX
methodology. Weighting factors of the different strategies are
applied to enable a product recyclability assessment. Weighting
factors for the strategies also prioritize the strategies and thereby
enable engineers to select the most important strategies to optimize
design towards better recyclable small domestic appliances. In
section 4 the tool to support engineers in developing better
recyclable products is presented. Section 5 presents the preliminary
results to validate the Impact Assessment Method (IAM). The
conclusion is stated in section 6.
This section explains the approach used for developing the DFX
methodology. First, Section 2.1. describes the design process steps
that require to be supported by a Design for eXellence
methodology. Secondly, Section 2.2. explains the steps that were
followed in developing the method.
2.1 The Design process
A widely accepted generic model of the design process is shown in
Figure 1 [12]. According to this, candidate solutions are generated
in a creation process. Then they are analyzed to calculate its
performance and evaluated to assess whether the design is to be
adjusted (path 1), rejected (path 2) or accepted (path 3). Therefore,
the four basic processes that need to be supported in a DFX
methodology are; Creation, Analysis, Evaluation and Adjustment.
Furthermore, and as described in [13], the types of information
content present in a design process can be classified into three,
categories, namely; embodiment, scenario and performance.
Embodiment regards the set of parameters describing the
design object, like its topology and its properties.
Scenario is related to the set of entities describing the
flow of energy, mass or information the embodiment is
exposed to.
Performance determines how the embodiment behaves
within a certain (group of) scenarios.
Figure 1: The design process [12]
Scenario Analysis
Figure 2: The analysis and the creation process
From here it follows that an analysis technique allows the
quantification and qualification of the performance of an
embodiment undergoing a given scenario, as shown in Figure 2. On
the other hand, creation is the process of specifying embodiment
parameters such that it meets certain performance values for a
given scenario. In this sense, design rules have an inverted effect to
analysis, since scenario and/or performances help defining the
embodiment variables.
From the previous discussion, it can be concluded that the DFX
methodology should have a clear description of the following:
1. Types of embodiment, scenario and performance
variables involved in the method.
2. An analysis method for calculating the designs
3. A set of design rules to assist the generation of
successful solutions.
4. A set of evaluation criteria for judging the performance
values obtained in an analysis process.
5. A set of adjustment rules for improving previously
obtained candidate solutions.
The resulting Design for Recyclability method presented in this
paper was developed taking this into consideration.
2.2 The DFX methodology
A Design for eXcellence methodology is developed to generate
design guidelines that support product developers to focus on a
single variable; X. The Design for eXcellence methodology was
utilized to develop the Design for Recyclability method, and
consisted out of the following steps:
Goal definition: defining the application of the DFX
method, defining the subject of study, determining the
depth of study.
Subject definition: knowing the initiatives, determining
experts to interview, knowing the process (X),
determining aspects of attention.
User operability: determining how the target group should
use the DFX method.
DFX model making: choosing and making the model.
Evaluation: testing and revising the model, determining
future activities.
Model revision: revising the model according to the
outcome of the evaluation.
The DFX methodology is a systematic step wise approach with
associated actions to generate Design for X guidelines.
The development of the method here presented is commissioned
by Philips Royal Electronics. Boundary conditions of the tool were
determined for small domestic appliances, to be recycled in Europe,
utilizing shredding recycling systems. The tool is created with
Adjustment Analysis
uirements solutions
candidate solution
1 2 3
Topic Expert
Content of guidelines and strategies
Chemical experts (Royal Philips Electronics)
Legislation expert (Royal Philips Electronics)
Material expert (Royal Philips Electronics)
Sustainability experts (Royal Philips Electronics)
Recycling company experts (Van Gansewinkel Group)
Formulation of guidelines and strategies Design experts (University of Twente)
Psychology expert (University of Twente)
Creation of Impact Assessment Method (IAM)
IAM expert (University of Twente)
Decision making expert (University of Twente)
Multi criteria analysis expert (University of Twente)
Prioritizing WF’s of Impact Assessment Method (IAM) Recycling company experts (Van Gansewinkel Group,
REMONDIS, Eco-Systèmes)
Knowledge management Knowledge management expert (University of Twente)
Feedback on use of tool
Systems architect (Royal Philips Electronics)
Product architect (Royal Philips Electronics)
Development engineers (Royal Philips Electronics)
Design engineers (University of Twente)
Table 1: Conducted expert interviews.
ambitious guidelines, intending that products designed with these
guidelines are effectively recyclable nowadays, as well as in the
coming years. The foreseeable recycling processes and candidate
future legislation are taken into account during development. This
ensures that the materials are valid for the coming years. This is
necessary as Product Life Cycles (PLC’s) experience a delay that
can take up to a decade or longer, from being produced to actually
reaching the disposal and recycling stage. Only considering
Europe, there are over 1000 recycling companies. The origin of the
waste these companies recycle varies: packaging,
building/construction, agriculture, automotive electrical/electronic
and other markets. Of the 57 Waste Electrical and Electronic
Equipment (WEEE) recycling companies 56 use ‘size reduction’ as
a recycling technology [14]. It is assumed the size reduction
technology is shredding, indicating that shredding can be regarded
as the common European WEEE recycling process.
Figure 3: Practical execution of DFX methodology
A literature study was performed to form a starting basis of the
guidelines already available, followed by a patent study to obtain
insight into the technologies that could potentially lead towards an
improved future recycling process. Subsequently observational
visits and studies are performed to the recycling facilities to provide
the link between theory and the important firsthand experience.
During these stages many expert interviews were conducted to gain
further necessary practical insight. These experts were involved to
ensure the right knowledge on each different topic is included, table
1. The practical execution of the DFX methodology is visualized in
figure 3.
3.1 Variables and parameters
First 6 consequences to be prevented are defined. The
consequences apply to the output of the recycling process. The
recycler wants to prevent these consequences in order to maximize
the quality and quantity of the output material stream. Following
this, 5 types of materials or components are defined which cause
these consequences. Finally the strategies prevent the product
design from containing these types of materials or components.
Therefore it follows that the:
Scenario variables: are the strategies.
Embodiment variables: are materials and connections.
Performance: are the consequences.
3.2 Creation support
Literature on Eco-design [2-9] provides general guidelines for
designing products with increased recyclability. However
experience indicates that engineers prefer more specific directions
in order to know how to design better recyclable products.
Therefore, the method in this paper approaches design support on
two levels, namely, higher level guidelines, and a more specific
strategy level. The guideline level consists of 7 guidelines which
describe a general objective. The strategies, which are grouped by
guidelines, describe in specific terms the actions and decisions
required to achieve the objective of the guideline they are coupled
to. Special attention has been paid to the formulation of the
strategies to avoid misinterpretation. An example of a guideline is:
Guideline; Minimize material diversity.
Expert interviews
Expert interviews
Desk research
Field study
Evaluation Development
Design for
Recyclability IAM
Design for
guidelines and
Indicator tool
And an example of a strategy to achieve this guideline is:
Strategy; Do not use polymer blends. Blends like PS-ABS cannot
be separated into PS and ABS. Use mono materials instead of
blends. Pure materials are supremely recyclable (if the material is
As the example shows, the guideline describes an objective, while a
strategy describes a way to achieve this objective. A total of 7
guidelines and 39 strategies were developed. Confidentiality
prohibits describing all of them.
3.3 Analysis Method
The performance indicator that measures the degree of recyclability
of a product is here defined as Product Recyclability Indicator (PRI).
Its lowest value is 0% recyclability efficiency, which represents a
product when best suitable for energy recovery. Whilst its highest
value is 100% recyclability efficiency, which represents that the
product meets all the objectives stated in the guidelines. In order to
develop an analysis method that can be used to calculate the PRI,
each strategy has been provided with a weighting factor that
describes its importance in making the product recyclable. The PRI
is calculated by adding all of the weighting factors attributed to each
of the strategies that have been used during the design of the
product. The values of the weighting factors are based on concrete
input extracted from the recycling industry. The transformation of
weighting factors to recyclability efficiency has been regarded as
the Impact Assessment Method (IAM).
Multiple versions of the IAM are created and tested, resulting in a
workable and refined IAM. The final IAM version consists of a
structure of 6 consequences, 5 types of materials or components,
and 39 strategies. The analytical hierarchy process tree of IAM is
displayed in figure 4. Weighting factors of the variables and
parameters were obtained accordingly:
Consequences: Three large recyclers in Europe used Multi Criteria
Analysis (MCA) to provide the consequences with weighting factors
(WF). This is used to obtain the relative importance of prevention of
each consequence based on daily practice. This empirical input
strengthens the reliability of the IAM.
Materials and components: An MCA is used to identify the extent of
severity each type of material or component causes the
consequence. This is the most uncertain part of the IAM as it is
based on the intuition and experience of a relevant expert.
However, the expert should be familiar with both the recycling
process and product development. The MCA is therefore an
approximation of reality based on the opinion of this expert. The WF
of the consequences and the WF of how severe each material or
component causes the consequence is put in a sub criteria analysis
to generate WFs of the different types of materials or components.
Strategies: WFs of how well each strategy prevents a type of
material or component from being used are obtained by an MCA.
The MCA input is based on logical thinking and is a reflection of
reality. A sub criteria analysis of the two previously mentioned
weighting factors provide WFs for the strategies. Figure 5 visualizes
how the different weighting factors of the strategies are obtained.
6 Consequences
to prevent
5 Types of material
or component
causing a certain
39 Strategies to
prevent certain
type of materials
or components
A well recyclable product
Toxic waste Toxic
Normal material
containing toxic
components or
material or
Waste material
Toxic material
S2.5 S2.9
Figure 4: Analytical network process tree
WF Consequence WF how severe the type of material or
component causes the consequence
WF of type of material
or component
* =
WF of type of material
or component
WF how well the strategy prevents the
type of material or component
WF strategy
* =
Figure 5: Impact Assessment Method to calculate static weighting factors
Figure 6: Impact Assessment Method to calculate WF for next best strategies
Unfortunately the usual static weighting factors are not sufficient
because when conditions change, different strategies increase in
importance and thus their weighting factors should increase as well.
For example when toxic substances are not used there is no need
to enable removal. Inversely when toxic substances are used,
enabling removal of these toxic substances or components gets a
higher priority. The solution is to apply dynamic weighting factors.
Superior strategies are assigned WFs by the earlier mentioned IAM.
Inferior strategies are assigned a fraction of the superior strategy
when this superior strategy is not met. Four parameters are
determined which cause a strategy to be strictly superior:
1. Increased probability of occurrence of a consequence
2. Increased severity of the consequence possible
3. Increased effort required to prevent a consequence
4. Increased wear caused to prevent a consequence
Each inferior strategy is compared to its superior strategy
employing these parameters. The parameters are assigned five
grades ranging from 0.1 to 1. When the inferior strategy scores
equal on a certain parameter, a 1 is assigned. When the inferior
strategy scores worse a lower value is assigned. Multiplying the
WFs of the parameters results in the Next Best Factor (NBF). The
inferior strategy is assigned the WF of the superior strategy
multiplied with the NBF. Note: this only occurs when the superior
strategy is not complied with. Figure 6 shows how the weighting
factors of next best strategies are calculated to enable dynamic
weighting factors. Evaluation criteria
The user of the method indicates which strategies the concept or
product complies with to assess its recyclability. The Product
Recyclability Indicator score is the sum of the weighting factors of
the strategies complied with. This efficiency performance is
indicated as a percentage. Whether the result is good or bad
depends on the criteria of the company or user. Philips marks a
score of <50% as bad, 50 – 75% as average, and 75% as good.
3.4 Improvement suggestions
The method also provides improvement suggestions when an
assessment is performed. Here the method selects and displays the
top five strategies of priority not yet complied with. These strategies
are most significant to further improve the recyclability of the
product. In addition, when completed by the user, the tool indicates
why those strategies were not complied with and who made that
3.5 The analysis method applied
Product developers can use the analysis method by following these
Set a recyclability performance indicator objective.
Select which strategies to comply with to achieve the
Generate a concept product design complying with those
Assess the concept product design on recyclability.
When the objective score is not achieved developers
should take into account the improvement suggestions.
The tool is created including (1) the Design for Recyclability
guidelines and strategies, (2) the dynamic weighting factors of the
strategies and (3) the ability to assess a concept or product on
recyclability. The benefit of combining these three aspects into a
single tool is; clustered knowledge, ease of use, and the ability to
perform a relatively quick assessment of products recyclability.
Additionally the tool offers improvement suggestions for the
assessed product, comprising of the top five strategies with highest
priority. Optionally the user can declare why a certain strategy is not
complied with and who decided so. This consolidation of
information is helpful for possible future redesign or when a similar
product will be designed. With the top five improvement
suggestions the reason for non compliance as well as the
responsible decision maker is clearly indicated.
To conduct an assessment the user indicates which strategies the
product complies with. This set up means the input of the IAM are
the design process decisions. The input of decisions enables not
only the assessment of products but also concepts. Information and
feedback on how to improve the product design is required at an
early stage of the product design process when major decisions
have yet to be made. Information and feedback at an early stage
enables the developers to improve the design before large
investments are made. For a Life Cycle Analysis, product data is
required, including details such as the exact amount of a certain
material. This data is not available at an early stage of product
design. The tool enables an assessment of the concept at an early
stage because decisions not data are the input for the tool. This
provides information and feedback when it is most needed.
5.1 Results
Different types of small domestic appliances are assessed to
evaluate the validity of the weighting factors in the tool and the
product recyclability indicator score. The sustainability expert of
Philips set a recyclability performance indicator score for each of
the assessed existing products prior to tool assessment. This
expected recyclability indicator is solely based on expertise and
experience. The results of the assessment are compared to these
expectations. In the case where the tool would show a totally
different recyclability indicator, contradicting the expert’s
expectation, the IAM is considered incorrect and requires
improvement. Four different types of small domestic appliances are
assessed so far. The preliminary results are promising, showing
that the results from the assessments align closely with the expert
expectations. Some results are displayed in figure 7. The expert
consistently sets the expected recyclability score 12 to 16% higher
than the results from the tool. There are no large deviations from
the expert’s expectations. The preliminary conclusion from the
WF Probability
of occurrence
WF Severity of
consequence possible
NBF (next
best factor)
* =
WF Effort
WF Wear
* *
NBF (next best factor) WF Superior strategy WF added to the next
best strategy
* =
Philips experts is that the model is usable and that first indications
are that the tool functions accordingly.
Explanation for the consistently higher indicator score of the expert
could be; 1) The tool takes candidate future legislation into account
whereas the expert does not, 2) the tool takes other aspects into
account compared to the expert, 3) the relative importance of the
strategies differ for recycler and product developer.
Figure 7:
5.2 Expert opinion
Following these experiments the expert’s opinion of the tool was
gauged. The new developed tool will enhance the awareness and
innovation with respect to the recyclability of electronic products.
The tool is a bridge between product designers and recyclers of
WEEE waste in Europe as it is a complex dynamic tool, however
this is hidden behind a clear user interface, and provides a simple
interpretable output. For the first time Philips can review products
on recyclability and then use this knowledge to improve closed loop
product recycling chains. First product assessments meet the
expectations and this new supportive product development tool
could lead to new product designs in the future at Philips.
Practical input is utilized in a theoretical model (the tool), to
generate practical output. A tool is created to support engineers in
developing improved recyclable products. The tool contains all
aspects of a complete DFX method. The tool enables an
assessment of both concept and existing products to obtain an
indication of the recyclability of the product. The preliminary tests of
the method yield promising results, meeting expert expectations.
A study should be conducted of how to optimize the IAM. More
recyclers can provide input for the IAM to increase reliability of the
IAM. Additionally it is recommended to extend the geographical
validity of the tool to the United States. It is expected only minor
adjustments are required to make the tool valid for products
recycled in the US. The method is evaluated by assessing different
types of small domestic appliances. It is recommended to evaluate
the method by assessing a greater variety of small domestic
Future work will continue on improved product designs to contribute
to closed loop WEEE recycling. Philips will continue the
implementation and improvement these kinds of sustainability tools
to reach their EcoVision5 targets by 2015.
The authors especially would like to thank Piet de Meer from
recycler Van Gansewinkel Group and Erica Purvis from Royal
Philips Electronics for their cooperation on this project.
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... In defining recyclability as an aim, benefits arise only after the product lifecycle has been considerably extended. In this context, the 'design for excellence' (DFX) concept provides a practical tool for product engineers in which the basis has been focused on a small domestic appliance and enables a systematic assessment of products even in the concept phase to recycle after use, more specifically after 'shredding' [2]. Small domestic appliances are an example of the growth in the demand for sustainability with ultimate recyclability. ...
... Scattering Particle Size 1 Before Sonication (µm) After Sonication (µm) d10 (vol) 2 3.33 1 2 For particles of identical material and optical densities, the v/v size distribution was identical to the w/w size distribution. ...
... Scattering Particle Size 1 Before Sonication (µm) After Sonication (µm) d10 (vol) 2 3.33 1 2 For particles of identical material and optical densities, the v/v size distribution was identical to the w/w size distribution. ...
Full-text available
NOx is unavoidably emitted during combustion in air at high temperature and/or pressure, which, if exceeding recommended levels, has a negative impact on the population. The authors found that when moist, limestone (CaCO3) readily sorbs NO2 to form calcium nitrate, which provides the basis for developing a surface flow filter. The substrate was made from “over-recycled” cellulose fibres such as newsprint, magazines, or packaging fibre, which are too weak to be used in further recycling. The substrate was specially-coated with fine-ground calcium carbonate and micro-nano-fibrillated cellulose, which was used as a binder and essential humectant to avoid formation of a stagnant air layer. Pre-oxidation countered the action of denitrification bacteria colonising the cellulose substrate. The by-product CO2 produced in situ during carbonate to nitrate conversion was adsorbed by perlite, which is an inert high surface-area additive. After use, the nitrate-rich CaCO3-cellulose-based filter was proposed to be mulched into a run-off resistant soil fertiliser and micronutrient suitable, e.g., for renewable forestry within the circular economy. Belgrade, Serbia, which is a highly polluted city, was used as a laboratory test bed, and NO2 was successfully removed from an inlet of city air. A construct of street-side self-draughting or municipal/commercial transport vehicle-exterior motion-draught filter boxes is discussed.
... Guidelines are a collection of instructions (Gries and Blessing, 2003) and tools (Vezzoli and Sciama, 2006) to orient the design activity towards the minimisation of the environmental impact of products. Nevertheless, current Design for Recycling and Disassembly guidelines lack precise recommendations, prioritizing and recyclability performance feedback (Peters et al., 2012). Besides, there is a need for more specific guidelines that focus on one product and process at a time (Hultgren, 2012;Peters et al., 2012). ...
... Nevertheless, current Design for Recycling and Disassembly guidelines lack precise recommendations, prioritizing and recyclability performance feedback (Peters et al., 2012). Besides, there is a need for more specific guidelines that focus on one product and process at a time (Hultgren, 2012;Peters et al., 2012). ...
... In order to design disassembly friendly devices, specific and measurable guidelines, also known as design strategies (Peters et al., 2012), could be developed thanks to the information and the data obtained in the case study. One example of design strategies developed by industry are the reparability score criteria developed by iFixit on phones, tables and computers (iFixit, 2016). ...
... Guidelines are a collection of instructions (Gries and Blessing, 2003) and tools (Vezzoli and Sciama, 2006) to orient the design activity towards the minimisation of the environmental impact of products. Nevertheless, current Design for Recycling and Disassembly guidelines lack precise recommendations, prioritizing and recyclability performance feedback (Peters et al., 2012). Besides, there is a need for more specific guidelines that focus on one product and process at a time (Hultgren, 2012;Peters et al., 2012). ...
... Nevertheless, current Design for Recycling and Disassembly guidelines lack precise recommendations, prioritizing and recyclability performance feedback (Peters et al., 2012). Besides, there is a need for more specific guidelines that focus on one product and process at a time (Hultgren, 2012;Peters et al., 2012). ...
... In order to design disassembly friendly devices, specific and measurable guidelines, also known as design strategies (Peters et al., 2012), could be developed thanks to the information and the data obtained in the case study. One example of design strategies developed by industry are the reparability score criteria developed by iFixit on phones, tables and computers (iFixit, 2016). ...
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is one of the fastest growing waste streams in contemporary societies. Proper treatment and recovery of WEEE is an important challenge not only because of its content on hazardous substances but also because it contains significant quantities of valuable materials. The pre-processing stage of WEEE recycling plays a major role in the recovery network, in particular when carried out through manual dismantling processes. Dismantling allows components to be separated prior to further treatment. However, recycling organisations usually find this particular stage considerably time-consuming, and hence expensive, since products are not designed to be easily dismantled. One particular waste stream that could reduce dismantling costs through an improved design is the stream of Flat Panel Displays (FPD). However, little detailed data is nowadays available on the dismantling processes, which prevent designing FPD according to the requirements of treatment operators. The purpose of this paper is to propose a method for in-depth analysis of dismantling practices of electronic displays in order to obtain useful data for product design. The method is composed of three stages: (1) study definition, (2) data construction and (3) data analysis. The first stage allows setting out why, how and where the analysis will be performed. The second stage consists in describing dismantling operations in detail to construct a detailed and meaningful dataset. Finally, product indicators are developed and the best and worst design practices from a dismantling point of view are identified. The approach is illustrated through a case study on the manual dismantling of 12 FPD. The sample was dismantled at one of the European recycling facility representatives. Data on the dismantling time spent on each component, operation and tool was obtained. Collected data can be used as empirical evidence to support the development of quantitative ecodesign strategies. Some examples of ecodesign strategies that can significantly reduce the dismantling time of the sample are given. This work opens perspectives on how the quantitative data from the recovery phase obtained within the study can be used in product design.
... Even though research has been performed on recyclable materials and more efficient Theme: Sustainable and eco-design of processes, products and services 2/10 recycling processes, secondary lifecycles in the industry are still commonly placed beyond the range of the design process. In order to promote product and material recycling, designers have compiled Design for Recycling (DfR) guidelines for more than two decades, yet these seem to "lack a combination of concrete instructions, prioritization, and recyclability performance feedback" [5]. In many cases, designers have little to no contact with the recyclers of their products. ...
... For Villalba et al., "recyclability is the ability a material has to reacquire the same properties it originally had" [13]. Peters et al. assume a designer's point of view and define recyclability as "the affordance a product has for recovering as much components and materials as possible (quantity) with the highest possible purity (quality) by the least amount of effort (ease) with existing recycling technologies" [5]. The French ADEME/AFNOR BPX30-323 environmental labeling guidelines define recyclability by either the recycled content of a given material in the products it is made with, or the recycling rate at the end of life, depending 4/10 on the maturity of the recycling market: in mature cases, for which most scrap is recovered and recycled, the recycling rate is considered, whereas in developing recycling markets, the reward goes to products that contain secondary material, so as to encourage these burgeoning activities [14]. ...
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Sustaining the material needs of society is an increasingly complex task, as demand grows for sophisticated materials. Concerns regarding material availability are rising, thus many studies following material stocks and flows in the economy and defining material criticality are being conducted. These assessments provide information that can be decisive for the industrial implementation of sustainable and innovative technologies. Disruption risks to the supply chains must be predicted to prevent material shortages at the corporate, national and global scale. Designers can play a major role for the preservation of material resources by considering the evolution of availability at the material selection stage. With the product lifecycle in mind, material recyclability will progressively become a key factor for the design process, in order to foresee potential vulnerabilities and foster material recycling. This paper is part of an on-going research being conducted at the G-SCOP lab of the Grenoble Institute of Technology, whose aim is to provide dynamic resource scenarios and additional input to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methods and Design for Recycling guidelines, so as to assist material selection in the design process. It presents a framework and the research methodology employed to identify the parameters that determine the evolution of recycling chains, based on material flow data and historical accounts of the shifts, ascent and decline of recycling activities. This should allow designers to incorporate material criticality and recyclability to their Life Cycle Assessments and fill an important gap since there are very few wide-ranging compilations of data describing the history of the recycling processes and industry in literature.
... One size in this case does not fit all. Peters et al. (2012) sums up the overall feeling around DfR strategies pointing out that most approaches and guidelines "lack a combination of concrete instructions, prioritization, and recyclability performance feedback" (Ibid,2012:203). ...
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The problem of difficult-to-recycle textile waste is usually laid at the designer’s door. However, the strategy ‘Design for Recycling’ is not only underexplored in the field of textile design, but the solutions offered are oversimplified and impractical for the complex materials that we have been producing. At the other end of the spectrum, much of the fashion industry has committed to using recycled fibres in their products. However, good intentions are not translating into actions. This is due to a seemingly unresolvable tension between the designers, recyclers and sorters. The circular economy demands ever increasing quality of recycled fibres. Any decreasing quality is condemned to downcycling or cascading. The quality of fibres is allegedly overcome by accurate sorting. However, the many different methods of blending used by textile designers makes this difficult. This research has been conducted across the realms of academia and industry and brings together three roles: industry-designer, academic-researcher and industry-based-expert. The methodological contribution of this thesis offers a way of steering the researcher through academic and industry collaboration. Using this approach, the study investigates the mechanical wool recycling system in which acrylic fibres are the main contaminant. Knitted acrylic textile waste falls straight into recycling sorting grades, without any re-use market, and are regarded as the lowest value fibres. Using this type of waste, the research explores the role of blending, sorting and cascading (reframed as spiralling) to enable designers to use recycled fibres and ensure their onward recyclability. Spanning the recovery and manufacture stages of the product’s life cycle, the ‘Design for Recycling Knitwear Framework’ proposes a way of extending the life of textile resources in the transition to a circular economy.
... The technical report IEC TR 62635:2012 defines recyclability as the "ability of [a] waste product to be recycled, based on actual practices", where recycling is "any operation by which waste products are reprocessed into products, product parts, materials or substances whether for original or other purposes" [17]. Various other definitions of recyclability can be found in literature [18][19] [20]. A major step in the direction of a systemized and harmonized recyclability assessment (RA) was done with DIN EN 45555:2020-04. ...
Conference Paper
Plastics in waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEEP) pose a multitude of challenges in material recycling. To improve the recycling of WEEEP, it is necessary to consider recycling barriers in the design phase of EEE (electrical and electronic equipment) and maximize their recyclability. Most of the existing recyclability assessment methods are either focusing on environmental, on economic or on technical aspects, but rarely in combination or with consideration of material quality loss and recycling barriers. This case study focuses on WEEEP characterization of vacuum cleaners and coffee machines to investigate influencing factors on the recyclability assessment of WEEE (plastics). In addition, technological limitations for characterization (plastic identification and additive quantification) were assessed. The case studies conducted have shown the extent to which detailed information on product characteristics and technology specifications influences the result of recyclability assessment.
... A second example of effective integration of LCE in a product developing process is a case of a large consumer electronics manufacturer [17]. Here, the master student acted as an intermediary between disposal companies and the product developers. ...
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In practice, applying life cycle engineering in product design and development requires an integrated approach, because of the many stakeholders and variables (e.g. cost, environmental impact, energy, safety, quality) involved in a complete product life cycle. In educating young engineers, the same integrated approach should be strived for, because a mono disciplinary approach is often less effective. Therefor, direct application of the theory in practical cases is necessary. This paper describes experiences with effective LCE education using the advantages of project-led education. This is illustrated by describing LCE relevant courses and evaluation of graduation assignments including successful integration of LCE elements.
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This paper presents a methodically structured design model for achieving a comprehensive improvement of product recyclability. The framework of this model consists of four design phases, integrating the prediction of product end-of-life strategy, the formation of modular structure, the selection of materials and fasteners, and the recyclability evaluation of design alternatives. The four phases are hierarchically organised in the body of the framework for a stepwise implementation, which are corresponding to the processes of generic engineering design at the stages of planning and task clarification, conceptual design and embodiment design. Fuzzy sets and graph theory are jointly applied as the basic techniques to formulate the methods for end-of-life strategy planning and structure modularisation. An air-conditioning system is used as an example to demonstrate the application of the proposed design model and its effectiveness in improving the recyclability of a product.
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The most important moment in product development is when demands and specifications are decided for the product that is being planned. The specification defines the goal for the product development process. It is a very important steering opportunity for the continuing work and for environmentally driven demands that are to be addressed in the product development phase. The designers are said to have the key to sustainable product development through EcoDesign. Many tools have been developed in order to help them to achieve this objective. However, most tools are seldom used primarily because of a lack of sustainability oriented requirements in specifications for products. If there is no demand for improved environmental performance, then there is no need for EcoDesign tools. The lack of market demand for environmentally improved products is therefore, a crucial factor. In other words: It makes no sense to grab a screwdriver from your toolbox if you have a nail in your hand. On the other hand if you have a hammer in your hand you tend to see everything as nails! The hypothesis of this paper is that there is a strong need for a tool to facilitate the integration of reasonable environmental demands into the product development process. The presented tool, “The Ten Golden Rules,” can be helpful in this effort. A helpful tool must be well adapted to the task and therefore it is important that the individual product developer/designer can develop personal versions from the generic guidelines. The Ten Golden Rules provide such a possibility. They provide a common foundation, for all in the team, which can be used as a base and guidelines for development of situation specific product-design challenges.
Bringing together the expertise of worldwide authorities in the field, Design for X is the first comprehensive book to offer systematic and structured coverage of contemporary and concurrent product development techniques. It features over fifteen techniques, including: design for manufacture and assembly; design for distribution; design for quality; and design for the environment. Alternative approaches and common elements are discussed and critical issues such as integration and tradeoff are explored.
Conference Paper
In the engineering design process without computer support, the amount of knowledge and experience of the engineers determine the design speed and ultimately the quality of the solution. The currently available CAD support focuses on analysis, leaving the critical process of finding a solution proposal to human designers. Prototypes of a new type of CAD tool are presented which automatically generate, evaluate and improve multiple solutions. It allows the designer to explore a detailed solution space, providing insight in the possibilities and constraints of a design. The paper shows the feasibility of a bottom-up approach to successfully develop design tools.
Computational synthesis (CS) researches the automatic generation of solutions to design problems. The aim is to shorten design times and present the user with multiple design solutions. However, initializing a new CS process has not received much attention in literature. With this motivation, this paper presents a framework to structure and model routine design to assist the development of new CS processes. First, concepts are presented and used to propose a structure for artifactual routine design problems. Latter, base models (building blocks) for creating new designs are described. Finally, a classification of design families according to its structure and models is presented together with its relation to know CS methods.
Reuse represents the highest level in product recovery. However, when this is not possible, recycling represents the best opportunity to re-introduce materials into the cycle and therefore to protect the environment. Design for recycling is a constriction of the design process, which focuses on the possibility of the designer to find the optimum solution in order to permit materials recovery when the product reaches its end-of-life. This paper deals wits the aspects concerning the designer's activities in fulfilling the goals of Design for recycling. This is also a way of reducing the waste and therefore reducing the environmental impact.
E-waste covers a wide range of products as well as dismantled and/or sorted components originating from these. Being able to predict the flow of materials and recycling performance for different E-waste types requires a fundamental and flexible basis in which E-waste design properties are linked to liberation and separation performance of recycling. This paper discusses the authors’ design-determined liberation and dynamic models to predict and monitor E-waste recycling technologically, economically and environmentally.
The Design for X (DFX) shell is a generic framework which can be easily extended or tailored to develop a variety of DFX tools quickly with consistent quality. A number of formal but pragmatic constructs are provided. Bills of materials are used to describe and analyse the overall product structure and product characteristics. Flow process charts are used to describe and analyse the overall process structure and process characteristics in relation to individual product elements. Standard operation process charts are modified to describe and analyse the overall process structure in relation to the product structure. Appropriate performance measures are used to evaluate the interactions between the elements of products, processes and resources. This paper discusses a systematic DFX development procedure. The DFX development procedure consists of seven steps, and each step focuses on a major building block of the DFX shell.
This study evaluates the efficacy of green design principles such as the "12 Principles of Green Chemistry," and the "12 Principles of Green Engineering" with respect to environmental impacts found using life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. A case study of 12 polymers is presented, seven derived from petroleum, four derived from biological sources, and one derived from both. The environmental impacts of each polymer's production are assessed using LCA methodology standardized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Each polymer is also assessed for its adherence to green design principles using metrics generated specifically for this paper. Metrics include atom economy, mass from renewable sources, biodegradability, percent recycled, distance of furthest feedstock, price, life cycle health hazards and life cycle energy use. A decision matrix is used to generate single value metrics for each polymer evaluating either adherence to green design principles or life-cycle environmental impacts. Results from this study show a qualified positive correlation between adherence to green design principles and a reduction of the environmental impacts of production. The qualification results from a disparity between biopolymers and petroleum polymers. While biopolymers rank highly in terms of green design, they exhibit relatively large environmental impacts from production. Biopolymers rank 1, 2, 3, and 4 based on green design metrics; however they rank in the middle of the LCA rankings. Polyolefins rank 1, 2, and 3 in the LCA rankings, whereas complex polymers, such as PET, PVC, and PC place at the bottom of both ranking systems.