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Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 768; doi:10.3390/su9050768

Product Family Approach in E-Waste Management: A Conceptual Framework for Circular Economy

SDU Life Cycle Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering, Biotechnology and Environmental Technology, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark
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Academic Editor: Elena Cristina Rada
Received: 29 March 2017 / Revised: 2 May 2017 / Accepted: 4 May 2017 / Published: 7 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Abstract

As the need for a more circular model is being increasingly pronounced, a fundamental change in the end-of-life (EoL) management of electrical and electronic products (e-products) is required in order to prevent the resource losses and to promote the reuse of products and components with remaining functionality. However, the diversity of product types, design features, and material compositions pose serious challenges for the EoL managers and legislators alike. In order to address these challenges, we propose a framework that is based on the ‘product family’ philosophy, which has been used in the manufacturing sector for a long time. For this, the product families can be built based on intrinsic and extrinsic attributes of e-products as well as of the EoL management system. Such an approach has the potential to improve the current EoL practices and to support designers in making EoL thinking operational during the product design stage. If supported by a better EoL collection, presorting and testing platform, and a family-centric approach for material recovery, such a framework carries the potential to avoid the losses occurring in today’s e-waste management system. This, in turn, could facilitate a smooth transition towards a circular model for the electrical and electronic industry. View Full-Text
Keywords: WEEE; end-of-life; design for end-of-life; resource recovery; electronic waste WEEE; end-of-life; design for end-of-life; resource recovery; electronic waste
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Parajuly, K.; Wenzel, H. Product Family Approach in E-Waste Management: A Conceptual Framework for Circular Economy. Sustainability 2017, 9, 768.

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