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Circular Economy. Is it Enough?

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Circular Economy:
Is it enough?
Dr. Sharon Prendeville
Chris Sanders
Jude Sherry
Filipa Costa
March 11, 2014
029 2064 7034
Circular Economy: Is it enough? 1
2. Dening the Circular
3. Comparing Ecodesign and
the Circular Economy
4. Challenges to Closing the
5. Alternatives to the
Circular Economy
6. Conclusion
Contents Page 3
Page 3
Page 5
Page 8
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
Images produced by Richard Harlow
Circular Economy: Is it enough?
Ecodesign is a strategic design
management process that
considers the full life-cycle
environmental impacts of
packaging, products, processes,
services, organisations and
systems. It can identify layers of
waste and layers of value.
1. Introduction
Recently, the concept of the circular
economy has gained traction in industry
and policy as a pathway to deliver
While not a new concept clearly its
widespread appeal has never been
greater. This is because industry at
large recognises the need to transition
from a linear take-make-dispose
model of production and consumption.
A key driver for this is increasing
awareness of resource scarcity, risks
to business competitiveness and the
potential impact this may have in
the long-term. In a recent UK based
survey of 435 companies in total
72% indicated that they are looking
to engage with waste management
providers to collaborate and implement
closed loop systems (Edie, 2013).
Purported incentives and cost reductions
seen through circular economics are
gains claimed through implementation
of closed loop manufacturing systems.
One report commissioned by the Ellen
McArthur Foundation (2013) found that
adopting a circular economy approach
could save European manufacturers
$630bn a year by 2025. As global
demand for sustainable solutions reaches
unparalleled prospects for industry.
This brief position paper discusses the
importance of an ecodesign perspective
within a circular economy. Firstly,
we set out the main similarities and
circular economics. Following this we
discuss key challenges in implementing
circular economy principles within
alternatives to the circular economy
for long-term environmental
protection and social wellbeing.
2. Circular Economy or
Closing the Loop?
between the concepts of circular
economy and closed loop manufacturing
academic and grey literature.
how both concepts involve the reverse
remanufacturing, repair, recovery,
recycling and reuse. And this is widely
economic growth, promote renewable
energy, the notion of ‘restoration’
and the ‘replenishing’ of resources.
Importantly, the concept of closed loop
Ecodesign Centre’s view of the circular
economy as a broader agenda than that
of closing the loop.
However, though broader, it is not
entirely clear how a circular economy
approach could restore or replenish
natural resources. It is true that
circularity can reduce the need for raw
Circular Economy: Is it enough? 4
Ecodesign is a strategic
design management
process that considers
the full life-cycle
environmental impacts of
packaging, products,
processes, services,
organisations and
systems. It can identify
layers of waste and layers
of value.
Circular Economy: Is it enough?
material extraction thus alleviating
stress on the natural environment. But
Finally, it is essential to recognise that
circular economics and closed loop
approaches advocate for material and
Figure 1. Closed Loop Production System (adapted from the OECD, 2009)
environmental impact reduction. It is
also essential to recognise that there
are environmental impacts resulting
from product life cycle stages other than
raw material extraction (this includes
environmental impacts of recycling
processes). In Section 2 we discuss the
role of ecodesign in bridging this gap.
3. Comparing Ecodesign
and the Circular Economy
This section introduces ecodesign and
the strategic and operational alliances
between ecodesign and the circular
these concepts begin to diverge.
Ecodesign is a strategic design
management approach to reducing
environmental impacts across the
Circular Economy: Is it enough?
whole product life cycle. The European
into account all of the environmental
impacts of a product right from the
earliest stage of design. In particular,
this avoids uncoordinated product
planning (for example, eliminating a
toxic substance should not lead to higher
energy consumption, which on balance
could have a negative impact on the
environment.” Traditionally, ecodesign
evolved to include services and systems
(see Sherwin and Evans, 2000).
Ecodesign strategies (such as design for
recycling, design for disassembly) can
facilitate closed loop remanufacturing
while also making ecodesign products
suited to servicing, leasing and hiring
This means that like the circular
economy model, ecodesign often
requires business model innovation
to realise value invested earlier in the
design stage.
Circular Economy: Is it enough?
Operational Synergies
The practical relationship between
ecodesign and the circular economy
is acknowledged (e.g. Besch 2005).
Importantly, a large body of literature on
ecodesign practices exists including case
studies, ecodesign methods, strategies
and a substantial number of ecodesign
tools. This existing body of practical
support the implementation of a circular
Circular Economy: Is it enough? 7 8
Strategic Overlaps
There are strategic alliances between
ecodesign and the circular economy.
an operational concept, whereas in
our experience ecodesign requires
strategic decision-making. This is
because business model redesign and
cross-sector collaboration are required
to fully implement and therefore
Similarly, the core aim of the circular
economy is to extract ‘the maximum
value from material while in use, then
recovering and regenerating’ waste
requiring a rethink on how to design
products including product systems and
Importantly, this overlap sees
both concepts promote business
model innovation, reverse
logistics, intersectoral cascades
and cross-sector collaboration.
Combined, these aspects require
fundamental changes in industrial
infrastructure, which is a key barrier
to implementation of ecodesign and
circular systems.
Diering Approaches
Ecodesign is central to closed
loop manufacturing and product
designers are at the forefront of
its implementation. While product
designers play a central role, there are
involves. Some authors are proponents
In contrast, McDonough and Braungart
(2007) have explicitly criticised resource
techniques. Rather, through their Cradle
to Cradle design protocol (C2C) they
with long-term growth and economic
prosperity. With the assumption that
growth is good, the framework advocates
for consumption, based on short-term
product life spans. It promotes new
which seek to design and manufacture
within closed-loop cycles. Products and
product parts are made up of biological
or technical nutrient materials, which
are recovered and reutilised within their
respective biosphere or technosphere
(McDonough and Braungart 2007). Other
basis for ‘biological’ nutrients and their
Reijnders 2008).
In addition, MBDC have also criticised
toxicity aspects of products. Instead,
they propose material toxicity testing
as a preferable approach.Ideally, a
combination of both approaches is
Ecodesign needs to be informed
by LCA results to allow design
practitioners and other stakeholders
to take action. In terms of material
toxicity testing, Ecodesign Centre
proposes that material formulators
should undertake material toxicity
testing (rather than individual
Circular Economy: Is it enough?
Figure 2 - Relationship between
Ecodesign and Circular Economy
companies undertaking Cradle to Cradle
basis). Taking a twofold approach would
across the product life cycle.
Fundamental Distinctions
It has long been stated that 80% of a
product’s environmental impacts are
determined at the design phase (Graedel
and Allenby, 1995). As previously
discussed, Table 1 illustrates how circular
prioritise total environmental impact
reduction*. For example, Sherwin and
Evans (2000) state ecodesign is ‘the
design of a product, service or system
with the aim of minimising the overall
impact on the environment’. This
distinction is important because resource
have environmentally negative rebound
According to McKinsey (2011) circular
economics means ‘meeting current
demand/consumption needs’ (see
Table 1). In contrast, we believe society
over consumes. Design has the power
to fundamentally change, for the
better, how society behaves and how
ecodesign methods question and assess
the validity of the product need, right
4. Challenges to Closing
the Loop
The literature discusses a number of
challenges or barriers to achieving the
circular economy. Here, we discuss these
challenges according to three groups:
challenges related to practical issues
Design has the power to
fundamentally change,
for the better, how
society behaves and how
people consume.
of implementation such as technical,
economic and infrastructure problems;
challenges to do with behavioral change;
Ecodesign Centre perceive within the
circular economy model.
Practical issues surrounding the circular
economy are frequently cited and many
of these are also relevant to ecodesign.
practical problems. This is followed by
a discussion of issues that are more
4.1 Practical Issues
Supply chain management,
Logistics, Pricing and
Each of the possible routes for
maintaining materials in a closed system
has its own problems. For example,
companies struggle to implement
functioning distribution networks that
bring products from locations scattered
nationally or internationally to a central
depot. In addition, few regions have
the infrastructure in place to collect
unwanted products. These issues are
exacerbated by a limited ability to
predict quantities of returned products.
Furthermore, there is often poor market
demand for reused and remanufactured
products, in part related to consumer
perceptions of these products, their
quality and functionality. Other
binding contracts that may constrain
improvements to business operations,
Intellectual Property (IP) rights which
restrict information sharing along the
supply chain and issues around the
legalities of selling remanufactured
products (Kuo 2011; Souza 2012;
Vanegas et al. 2011).
In addition, the economic viability
and environmental impact reduction
through schemes to promote reuse
and remanufacturing (such as ‘product
take-back’) are dependent on a number
of factors. Most importantly, product
designs need to be durable enough to
withstand remanufacturing and multiple
cycles of use and Original Equipment
Manufacturers (OEM) need to be willing
or incentivised to take the product back
and service models are suited to non-
energy consuming products during the
impacts). Products also need to be
manufactured with standardised
materials to generate high value and
pure recyclate thus incentivising product
take-back (Kuik et al. 2012; Grant &
Banomyong 2010). Some businesses
may have also already invested large
amounts of money in machinery and
infrastructure for their production
processes, making required changes
uneconomical. Others may struggle
to raise initial investment funds to
implement improvements.
Businesses also need appropriate
remanufactured products. This is an
active and complex area of academic
al., 2009; Shi et al., 2011). One particular
Circular Economy: Is it enough?
9 10
issue is known as the ‘cannibalisation’
life products from a business, switch
to a lower price remanufactured one
(purchased from the same business), and
risk scenario.
Recycling and Externalities
Economic, infrastructure and technical
of recycling for some materials. For
example, although technically possible,
perform closed loop recycling for some
types of plastic due to the mixing of
contaminants such as ink and metals
in the recyclate (Hopewell et al., 2009).
Therefore, plastics are often down cycled
into products that require a lower quality
material. There are also challenges for
the recovery and recycling of metals.
currently exist for metals such as
aluminium and steel, the recovery rates
for other metals such as Rare Earths are
much lower (Ecodesign Centre Critical
recovery of these metals include very
low quantities in products, making it
of one metal type versus another in the
recovery process (Hagelüken & Meskers,
2009). A major challenge is ensuring that
metals from waste products enter into
the correct recycling pathways. Currently
a large quantity of end-of-life products
are traded abroad and processed
the environment and human health.
Andersen (2007) suggests that the
circular economy cannot recycle
materials in perpetuity, noting that
beyond a certain point recycling will
related to a problem with the true cost
of goods and services where the external
costs to the environment or ‘externalities’
are not included. This results in
goods and services being priced very
cheaply, making recycling and reuse
of materials uneconomical while virgin
material supplies are still plentiful.
This phenomenon prevails despite the
environmental impacts associated with
their production.
For these reasons ecodesign prioritises
long life durable products that can be
with limited additional process. This is
particularly important because easily
disassembled products with high
amounts of recycled content (therefore
suited to recycling) can often have
compromised durability (Prendeville
Behavior Change Issues and
Achieving a circular economy requires
action from and communication
between a variety of stakeholders
including politicians, business managers,
investors, research scientists, designers
and everyday consumers. Changing
current modes of production and
consumption requires behavior change
Circular Economy: Is it enough?
amongst these groups. A large amount
of research has been undertaken on
pro-environmental behavior change
One major challenge is altering peoples’
habits to avoid activities that are
unsustainable (Kollmuss & Agyeman,
2002). On a business level, change also
requires leadership from owners and
Of particular concern in the literature,
linked both to general consumers
and businesses, is the occurrence of
have been shown to lead to increases
in consumption, known as the Jevons
Paradox, and therefore greater
cumulative environmental impacts
(Polimeni et al., 2009) . Discussing these
phenomena with an economist uncovers
are gained. Therefore, focusing solely
products, threatens the sustainability of
the circular economy.
More Fundamental Challenges
to the Circular Economy
There are also limitations to recycling
and growth of the economy based on
material use that can be understood
from the second law of thermodynamics
(Ayres, 1998). This law recognises that
entropy (a measure of disorder) in an
isolated system always increases until
it reaches a state of thermodynamic
equilibrium (maximum entropy). If the
economy is considered as a closed
thermodynamic system , then materials
cannot be cycled continuously without
inputs of energy external to the system.
In the short-term limits to economic
growth based on thermodynamics
will not be an issue. Supplies of many
materials currently remain plentiful.
However, rapid economic growth that
is decoupled from environmental
degradation may be limited by the
environmental damage caused by mining
materials and an inability to source clean,
renewable energy at competitive prices.
In the longer-term thermodynamic limits
may mean that the circular economy
alone will not be a solution for a truly
sustainable society.
5. Alternatives to the
Circular Economy
There are other economic models that
have been suggested that are less
supportive of economic growth, due to
the limitations described above. But also
because there is evidence to suggest
that beyond a certain point economic
growth based on material use does little
to increase human well being (Jackson,
2009). Perhaps the most frequently cited
alternative model is the steady state
economy, where the size of the economy
is stable. For a steady state economy to
be achieved the throughput of materials
in an economy would need to remain
fairly constant, as would population.
A limit would then have to be set on
resource inputs to allow for a level of
economic activity that ensures good
Circular Economy: Is it enough?
11 12
1.Earth is a closed system but not an isolated system; energy inputs
can come from the Sun
living standards for the population while
maintaining the natural environment.
measures may then allow for continuous
improvements in quality of life to be
The other commonly cited suggestion
is sustainable degrowth. As the name
implies, this model aims for planned
degrowth of the economy to ensure
society lives within environmental limits.
from the steady state economy, some
commentators see the end route of
sustainable degrowth as a steady state
economy (Kerschner, 2010).
Moving towards a steady state economy
or achieving sustainable de-growth both
represent major challenges for society.
One of the largest barriers for either is
the fact that population would have to
remain constant or decrease. Currently
population is predicted to rise, reaching
around 9 billon people by 2050 (United
how resource inputs into the economy
could be limited and controlled on a
global scale and is important to note
that many countries still need economic
growth to lift them out of poverty.
Despite these challenges, a steady state
economy has long been suggested as the
endpoint of development of an economy
(Kerschner, 2010). Although it may be
should perhaps be a goal to strive
towards. The circular economy could be
used as a route to achieve this. Despite
it being a concept that is supportive of
economic growth, a circular economy
implemented using ecodesign principles
will allow for better quality of life while
reducing environmental degradation.
These changes may make it easier to
achieve a steady state economy in the
future, while being less at odds with
political and economic systems of the
6. Conclusion
This brief paper discusses the circular
economy model from the perspective of
ecodesign. In doing so, Ecodesign Centre
sets out important issues that need to
be addressed to ensure environmental
and social sustainability within a circular
economy model.
to industry, coupled with advocating
for continual economic growth and
consumption, poses long- term risks
to the environment and to society. And
therefore risks the sustainability of the
circular economy.
The proven success of the circular
economy model is its ability to awaken
and mobilise industry. It is clear that the
circular economy is instrumental to drive
forward necessary societal changes in
modes of production and consumption.
With greater alignment of environmental
unparalleled opportunity for societal
Circular Economy: Is it enough?
There is evidence to
suggest that beyond a
certain point economic
growth, based on
material use, does little
to increase human well
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15 Circular Economy: Is it enough? 16
Circular Economy: Is it enough? 16
We make ecodesign happen
through developing and
delivering collaborative multi-
sectoral ecodesign projects.
Ecodesign Centre (EDC)
Technology Centre,
Senghennydd Road,
CF24 4AY,
United Kingdom
029 2064 7034
... (1) In terms of eco-design, Prendeville et al. (2014) have demonstrated that this stage plays a central role in CE to enhance its advantages (primarily focusing on resource utilization), as eco-design is designed to reduce all environmental impacts in the product life cycle. Since eco-design takes into account all the environmental impacts of a product since the early stages, it has the potential to improve the CE approach by facilitating the use of materials and resources (Prendeville et al., 2014;Geissdoerfer et al., 2017). ...
... (1) In terms of eco-design, Prendeville et al. (2014) have demonstrated that this stage plays a central role in CE to enhance its advantages (primarily focusing on resource utilization), as eco-design is designed to reduce all environmental impacts in the product life cycle. Since eco-design takes into account all the environmental impacts of a product since the early stages, it has the potential to improve the CE approach by facilitating the use of materials and resources (Prendeville et al., 2014;Geissdoerfer et al., 2017). ...
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... This existing body of practical ecodesign knowledge is beneficial to support the implementation of a circular economy. According to Prendeville (2014) ecodesign strategies (such as design for recycling, design for disassembly) can facilitate closed loop remanufacturing while also making ecodesign products suited to servicing, leasing and hiring options. This means that like the circular economy model, ecodesign often requires business model innovation to realise value invested earlier in the design stage (Fig.4). ...
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The literature on blockchain technology and circular economy is at a nascent stage, with only initial limited and superficial recognition of the possible role blockchain may have in supporting circular economy laws and policies. This paper contributes to this emerging area by exploring the regulatory opportunities and challenges for adoption of blockchain for circular waste management. In particular, through a mixed methods approach combining empirical and doctrinal research, this paper presents initial findings on: (1) the current role of blockchain within the legal landscape on circular economies; (2) the regulatory barriers of blockchain application to circular economies; and (3) opportunities of blockchain in supporting regulatory mechanisms promoting circularity.
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Klebsiella pneumoniae is a clinically common opportunistic pathogen that causes pneumonia and upper respiratory tract infection in humans as well as community-and hospital-acquired infections, posing significant threats to public health. Moreover, the insertion of a plasmid carrying the mobile colistin resistance (MCR) genes brings obstacles to the clinical treatment of K. pneumoniae infection. In this study, a strain of colistin-resistant K. pneumoniae (CRKP) was isolated from sputum samples of a patient who was admitted to a tertiary hospital in Tai’an city, China, and tested for drug sensitivity. The results showed that KPTA-2108 was multidrug-resistant (MDR), being resistant to 21 of 26 selected antibiotics, such as cefazolin, amikacin, tigecycline and colistin but sensitive to carbapenems via antibiotic resistance assays. The chromosome and plasmid sequences of the isolated strain KPTA-2108 were obtained using whole-genome sequencing technology and then were analyzed deeply using bioinformatics methods. The whole-genome sequencing analysis showed that the length of KPTA-2108 was 5,306,347 bp and carried four plasmids, pMJ4-1, pMJ4-2, pMJ4-3, and pMJ4-4-MCR. The plasmid pMJ4-4-MCR contained 30,124 bp and was found to be an IncX4 type. It was the smallest plasmid in the KPTA-2108 strain and carried only one resistance gene MCR-1. Successful conjugation tests demonstrated that pMJ4-4-MCR carrying MCR-1 could be horizontally transmitted through conjugation between bacteria. In conclusion, the acquisition and genome-wide characterization of a clinical MDR strain of CRKP may provide a scientific basis for the treatment of K. pneumoniae infection and epidemiological data for the surveillance of CRKP.
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The aim of the research is to provide a solution for addressing the overproduction problem in the textiles industry, being the root of their consequent carbon footprint and environmental impacts. The problem analysis chapter deal with the linear growth of this sector and is followed by an overview of its adverse impacts on the environment and people globally. Then, the chapter continues by analysing the over-reliance of the textile brands on the concept of a circular economy. Several circular practices and their efficiency are reviewed. The problem arising from this chapter lies in the limitations of a circular economy to alleviate environmental impacts if continuous growth is not addressed jointly. Consequently, the problem analysis concludes that a sustainable and circular system for the textile industry cannot occur in a growth-driven model. Degrowth is identified as a potential solution, and the research target how can such a new economic paradigm could be reflected at the business level in the textile industry. Emerging from the problem analysis and statement, the research question is framed and is as follows: How can textile companies shift towards a business model approaching degrowth with the purpose to build a sustainable future for the industry? Several subquestions are shaped to support the research question: • How a degrowth economic system could look like and what are its principles? • What are the principles of a business model approaching degrowth? • How can these principles be implemented in textile companies? • To what extent can the European policies support this transition? For the purpose of answering these different subquestions, several methods are being used. A conceptual framework giving 15 principles of economic organisation for a system fitting with degrowth is reviewed. Subsequently, a state-of-the-art the current state of knowledge about the principles used to design business models approaching de-growth is performed. The state-of-the-art reflects on 5 different papers touching upon characteristics for a degrowth business model. Based on the information gathered in the state-of-the-art, a framework for business approaching degrowth is conceptualized, summarizing principles for business model aligning with degrowth. As a result, this framework can be used as a tool to assess the compatibility of several brands with de-growth. Interview and critical analysis have been conducted to o er an assessment of 3 different brands. As the last step, policy development in regard to the textile industry is reviewed and criticised upon its relevance for supporting a shift of business model towards degrowth. The research demonstrates the applicability of degrowth in a business model, as well as its feasibility. Indeed, the brands assessed showed compatibility and alignment with each principle defined in the framework. Furthermore, the research highlighted certain key principles to facilitate a shift towards a business model approaching degrowth. Finally , the current policy development at the European level has been deemed insuficient to leverage this shift.
Car components are getting more advanced when meeting customer requirements. At the same time, the requirements of having cars that are easily dismantled and recycled also increase. At Volvo Cars, there is a need to have car components adapted to ease disassembly, where one example is exterior plastic components. However, end-of-life processes of car dismantling are seldom thought of when designing exterior plastic components. Therefore, this paper aims to develop a systematic design approach to support the Design for Recycling of exterior plastic components from an end-of-life perspective. We investigated challenges, factors, and practices that affect the recycling of the cars’ exterior plastic components. In addition, we studied end-of-life and eco-design tools that are used in industry and meet the requirements established by Volvo Cars. This was then used to develop a systematic design approach to support Design for Recycling. It encompasses three steps: 1) checking the investigated component against the identified end-of-life practices (helps to identify problems and generates solutions for design improvements ), 2) comparing the generated design improvements in terms of the environmental aspect (contributes to environmentally-driven decisions), and 3) evaluating the economic recycling benefits of the design improvements. The approach can be used within the automotive industry to improve the Design for Recycling of exterior plastic components and contribute to achieving a more circular economy.
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Background and research aims Since scholarly texts on management have been criticised as being no longer effective in communicating today's changing sociocultural, disciplinary, and practical contexts, my purpose in this paper is to conceptualise the identity options management authors can assume to communicate disciplinary knowledge and beliefs. Theoretical perspective The theoretical perspectives involved in this analysis include selected aspects of Harré and van Langenhove's (1999) positioning theory that I linked with my model of writer identity as a trichotomy of selves (individual self, collective self, depersonalised self), textually conveyed in the three types of voice (Lehman, 2018; Lehman and Sułkowski, 2020). Key findings Based on this conceptual framework, specific advice is provided as to how academics can create a reader-inclusive or authoritative writer persona in their texts. In doing so, I support the recent efforts in Critical Management Studies (CMS) to ‘write differently’ in order to address the aesthetic, moral, and political concerns of writing in the field.
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Report by the Sustainable Development Commission; later published as Prosperity without Growth? analyses the complex relationships between growth, environmental crises and social recession. In the last quarter of a century, as the global economy has doubled in size, increases in consumption have caused the degradation of an estimated 60% of the world's ecosystems. The benefits of growth have been distributed unevenly, with a fifth of the world's population sharing just 2% of global income. Even in developed countries, huge gaps in wealth and well-being remain between rich and poor.
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To accomplish a Cradle to Cradle approach, which implies closing the material loop and avoiding downcycling, it is imperative to improve the physical separation processes. Therefore, a holistic life cycle approach, in which different actors in the lifecycle are involved, is required to allow the exchange of key information. This study describes a generic structure for a relational database that allows the required product information to be exchanged between manufacturer and recyclers, as well as the possible benefits for these companies to have this information available. The further goal of this database is to enable an evaluation and optimization from an economic and environmental point of view of the product design and alternative end of life treatment scenarios.
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Product recovery operation is widely recognised and practiced as an ecological alternative for end-of-life products processing that promotes the utilisation of returned products, components and materials. 6R (reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, remanufacture, redesign) incorporation is a proactive practice that primarily focuses on the improvement of product, process and system levels along supply chains and makes the returned product economically and environmentally viable. However, conventional product returns policy and strategy that has its limitation on measureable criteria for product recovery operations. In this paper, a framework of supply chain process of returns management is proposed to describe the dynamics of product recovery operations within multiple product lifecycle stages from pre-manufacturing, manufacturing, use and post-use. Future research should concentrate on sustainable manufacturing activities to improve sustainability of supply chain networks .
The purpose of this paper is to build the evaluation index system of Qaidam salt lake circular economy and sorting the programs according to the weights with the intuitionistic fuzzy sets conception. Intuitionistic fuzzy sets conception takes into account the objective and subjective weights comprehensive to determine weight, and then get the more accurately weight. This paper plays a referenced role for assessing the circular level of circulation in the Qaidam region.
In this article, I present a review and tutorial of the literature on closed‐loop supply chains, which are supply chains where, in addition to typical forward flows, there are reverse flows of used products (postconsumer use) back to manufacturers. Examples include supply chains with consumer returns, leasing options, and end‐of‐use returns with remanufacturing. I classify the literature in terms of strategic, tactical, and operational issues, but I focus on strategic issues (such as when should an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) remanufacture, response to take‐back legislation, and network design, among others) and tactical issues (used product acquisition and disposition decisions). The article is written in the form of a tutorial, where for each topic I present a base model with underlying assumptions and results, comment on extensions, and conclude with my view on needed research areas.
The vastly increasing amounts of waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) has made it imperative to develop systems that can guarantee selective collection and correct treatment of such waste. The European Union (EU) Directive 2002/96/EC applies to WEEE, but some countries still lack legislation or have not yet devised a waste management system to comply with the law. In this setting, studies that provide information about how WEEE is managed in specific countries or regions can help facilitate shared experiences and increased learning about effective methods. Therefore, this study analyzes how WEEE management systems in Spain emerged, from the earliest drafts of the WEEE Directive 2002/96/EC to its full implementation. The chronological analysis reveals the gradual implementation of each requirement, the problems involved, and the attempted solutions. This analysis in turn indicates which factors have played fundamental roles in the development of a waste management system and indicates conclusions of interest to managers throughout the world who must deal with WEEE.
Life cycle engineering (LCE) is a key concept for promoting environmentally sustainable practices among manufacturing firms. A major hurdle in the implementation of LCE is the lack of a systematic and strategic method to design or plan an entire product life cycle. To address this issue, this keynote provides a framework for life cycle development and proposes the concept of life cycle planning. This paper aims to provide explicit and systematic methodologies for life cycle planning by reviewing this research area. Practical cases that employ life cycle planning are also illustrated. Finally, some research directions are suggested.
Biological nutrients have been defined as non-hazardous biodegradable materials and products of biodegradation processes. Changes in the concentrations of so-defined biological nutrients have ecological effects and high concentrations may have a negative impact on human health. This implies that there are no wastes or emissions derived from biological materials, which are ecologically irrelevant. Nor are such wastes intrinsically good or healthy.