It is estimated that more than 12 million tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) will be generated this year. With a growth rate of 3-5% per year, this type of waste is made up of a complex mixture of high value-added materials that can cause environmental and health problems if not properly managed.
Aimplas, the Plastics Technology Centre, is coordinating the C-SERVEES project with the aim of fostering a circular economy that is more efficient in the use of the resources of the electrical and electronic sector by developing new circular business models. Four kinds of products have been chosen: washing machines, laser printers and toner cartridges, TV sets and telecom equipment. The feasibility of their new business models is being evaluated.
These business models are based on eco-innovative services such as eco-leasing, product customization, better WEEE management, and ICT tools to assist with other circular services. ICT tools are currently being developed thanks to synergies between the circular economy and Industry 4.0. They will be used to implement new circular service models after taking into consideration the barriers and opportunities identified by stakeholders in a consultation. Bidirectional communication will therefore allow the manufacturer to redesign the product, customize it and optimize its end of life based on user and waste management requirements. Consumers will also be able to learn how to make their consumer patterns more sustainable and waste managers will have access to useful information to facilitate WEEE reuse and recycling, thanks to QR codes on each product.
For model replicability and transfer, the project is also considering developing a series of WEEE ecodesign guides and recommendations on policies to overcome current legislative barriers, as well as a framework for standardizing the circular economy.
The C-SERVEES project has received funding from the European Union within the framework of the H2020 programme and ten countries participate in it. In addition to AIMPLAS, it involves other technology centres, universities, and companies: Gaiker, Loughborough University, SAT, Lexmark, ADVA, Arçelik, Rina Consulting, Emaús, Indumetal, Greentronics, WEEE Forum, Circularise, Particula Group and Vertech Group, 65% of the consortium is made up of SMEs and large companies.