Electronics

Get a flavor of various developments in the electronics value-chain! See new business models like remanufacturing working in practice, a best practice of collection & recycling of WEEE under Extended Producer Responsibility and IT-enhanced Smart Cities and what it means for a city.

“Customers do not need to invest in lighting and maintenance, but pay a monthly fee: they rent the product, which extends its lifecycle. In short: ownership makes way for use.”
Leon Konings – Sustainability Professional Philips Lighting

As the consumption of electronics has increased rapidly in the last years, so has the waste made up of discarded products. E-waste often contains ingredients that risk damaging human health and polluting the environment. Over the last few years, several electronics companies have increased their efforts to phase out hazardous materials, spurred by legislative and consumer demands. Creative minds at several electronics companies have been set in motion in order to produce more ecofriendly products that are easier to recycle and handle when they reach their end-of-life. On the market as a whole improvement is necessary though.

In some respects, implementation is the hardest part of transition. Especially in the electronics sector, where closing the loop involves dealing with hundreds of product components, recyclability issues, complex supply chains and fickle consumers. But while there are hurdles, the potential for circular electronics to make impact is significant.

Possible topics:

– New business models
– Urban mining
– Closing International loops

Examples of best practices

Fairphone
Fairphone developed the first ethical phone in the world that is produced more fairly and with conflict free minerals in its supply chain. Materials contained in your average smartphone originally enter the supply chain from the mining sector, a challenging industry in terms of sustainability. From pollution and extremely dangerous working conditions to child labor, a number of mining-related practices desperately require improvement. Fairphone makes a positive change in materials supply chains by developing a framework to better understand the issues, to source more responsibly, to increase our use of recycled materials and to actively seek partners who can help achieve these goals. With the launch of Fairphone 2 in 2015, the company made a breakthrough in design and aims for longevity. The company has already sold more than 80.000 devices across Europe.

Philips: light as a service
Architect Thomas Rau worked with Philips to purchase light as a service. The end result was a bespoke ‘pay-per-lux’ intelligent lighting system to fit the requirements of the space, at a manageable price. Philips retains control over the items they produce, enabling better maintenance, reconditioning and recovery. A collaborative project between Philips and Turntoo is a showcase for the pioneering ‘Pay-per-lux’ model.

Coolrec
Coolrec is a leader in the recycling of electrical and electronic equipment into high-quality recovered plastics, metals and other secondary raw material. Recycling takes place from display screens to fridges and from ICT equipment to small household appliances. Coolrec has eight specialist sites in four different countries and is therefore able to offer an integrated, international network for the processing of WEEE at the highest level.

Closing the loop
Closing the Loop (CTL) aims to make the telecom industry waste-free and has already saved over 2 million African scrap phones from the landfill.

CTL collects completely broken phones in African countries and ensure this waste is turned into metals. These urban mined metals are  arguably the cleanest, lowest CO2-emitting, most fair, inclusive and conflict-free metals in the world.

CTL uses a unique circular business model to fund its work. The model is based on the concept of carbon offsetting, but instead ‘offsets’ materials. CTL’s European customers pay a small fee, every time they buy a new phone. That fee is used to fund the collection & recycling of African telecom waste. The urban mined metals extracted from the waste compensate for the material footprint of the new phone. The new phone thus become ‘material-neutral’.