A Comprehensive Approach for Product Circularity Assessment Towards Sustainable Value Creation

Grants and Contracts Details

Description

To sustainably meet the needs of a growing world population that aspires to higher living standards, it is vital to transition from the linear and ‘take-make-use-dispose’ practices to Circular Economy (CE) focusing on a restorative and regenerative approach. Operationalizing the CE must begin with products that are designed, manufactured, used, and handled at end-of-life (EoL) to maintain a circular flow of resources, by recovering, retaining or adding to their value. A pre-requisite to improving the design of products to increase circularity is comprehensive capabilities to measure and assess product circularity. While numerous methods have been proposed for evaluating product circularity, they are fraught with many limitations. remain to be addressed: most methods are not founded upon a concrete definition of CE and Most methods fail to clearly identify the fundamental attributes or key elements necessary for assessing product circularity and are not founded upon a clear definition of circular products; while circular flow of resources is paramount for CE, many proposed methods consider only one or two material recirculation strategies through reuse, remanufacture, and recycle, with an overarching emphasis on the least value recovery option of recycling. The industry adoption of proposed methods has also been low due to lack of industry user engagement during their development. The PIs have developed a preliminary framework and metrics-based approach for product circularity evaluation to address some of these limitations in an on-going, NIST-funded project (Award #: 70NANB22H104). Through extensive reviews of literature and engagement with stakeholders from the consumer electronics industry, a portfolio of attributes that characterize circular products, specific indicators to evaluate them and quantitative example metrics to assess different indicators have been identified. On-going work and interactions with industry experts through a workshop and one-on-meetings have, however, revealed the need for further research to enable industry adoption of the proposed method for more effective decision making. This proposed project will, therefore, focus on refining and improving the preliminary product circularity evaluation method established in the currently on-going project and address the additional stakeholder needs identified during the extensive interactions with industry. In collaboration with a company engaged in the consumer electronic product-service sector (Amazon Inc.), this project will focus on: • Refining and enhancing the metrics-based product circularity evaluation method, • Validating the product circularity evaluation method with different industry case studies, • Leveraging the framework and evaluation method to contribute towards developing principles for circular product design, and • Outreach to increase industry awareness of product circularity evaluation method. Given the emphasis of the on-going project, these objectives will also be addressed with an emphasis on consumer electronics products. The project team comprised of Drs. Badurdeen and Jawahir from the University of Kentucky together with Dr. Bradley (Amazon Inc.) [who are all also engaged in the on-going project], has extensive expertise to successfully achieve the project objectives. They will engage and interact closely with the CE in Manufacturing group at NIST to ensure project deliverables are aligned with their activities targeted towards US transition to CE.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date9/1/238/31/24

Funding

  • National Institute of Standards & Technology: $135,241.00

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