New production of electrical and electronic products in low-wage countries is currently often cheaper than repair, refurbishing and remanufacturing processes in high-wage locations such as Germany. Ever shorter innovation cycles are also generating new customer needs. Despite the desire of many people to have the option of buying used equipment or repair solutions for products for which there is no longer a warranty/guarantee, repair or refurbishing is generally not considered even for high-value electrical (electronic) products, or is simply not possible for the layperson even under instruction, e.g. in repair cafés. This is due in particular to the fact that repair or refurbishment is becoming increasingly difficult because, in addition to the complex electronic hardware, software availability and security as well as networking know-how play a decisive role. As a result, end-of-life products are replaced by new products after a limited period of use and, at best, recycled for materials/energy.
The scale of this global issue reached a new high of 44.7 million tons of electronic waste in 2016. This results in considerable environmental impacts and resource losses, which could be avoided by a closed-loop recycling based on optimized cascade use and extended use as well as their targeted recycling in the end-of-life as envisaged in the project. The project EffizientNutzen therefore aims to significantly increase the lifetime and, in particular, the useful life of these products. In further subprojects, digitalization strategies are to be developed to close the information gaps.
The Institute of Automotive Economics and Industrial Production (AIP), Research for Sustainable Development (FONA), IWF, ReziProk, TU Braunschweig
You can find the project poster here as PDF.
Center for Digital Technologies
Digitized Circular Economy
Dominique Briechle, M.Sc.