Circularity benefits

Our reality in Europe today is far from where we want to be. When we buy a new appliance today we know it will need to be replaced within 10 years. That it usually costs more to repair it than to buy it new. And that at the end-of-life, less than half of the appliances are properly collected and recycled. This has to change.

CircThread will bring the benefits of a circular economy closer to reality. The promise of appliances that last twenty years or more, of affordable repair and longevity, and of proper collection and recycling for all appliances. With huge jobs and social benefits for the economy and a large reduction in environmental pressures. To make this happen we are working to implement seven innovations. Together as a group of manufacturers, collectors, repairers, recyclers, consumer bodies, knowledge institutions and innovative companies.

A series of innovations,
tested in real life environments

Innovation #1
Creating a digital identity of your appliances and linking all parties across the life cycle

What if your appliance was not just a physical thing?
 
Today, your appliance is still an appliance. Tomorrow, your appliance will have a digital identity. Information will be easily retrieved by scanning the QR code tagged on the appliance when it was made via an App. So every time you need information, you will simply scan, request and receive it from the relevant party. And add information to the appliance history log as you make, buy, sell, repair, re-use and recycle. Exchanging key information from user to repair company, from repair company to manufacturer, from re-use shop to new user, from collector to recycler.
 
CircThread will aim to enable such a system across Europe. To build an appliance ‘Chain of Custody’ with anyone who physically ‘touches’ it, with the ability to trace the appliance history, and to exchange relevant information for a circular economy.

Innovation #2
Making it possible to link information from the manufacturer to the ‘Appliance Digital Identity’

What if you could receive specific information about how your appliance was made and what is in it?

Today, repair companies rely on repair manuals that they find on the internet. Tomorrow, they can be directly requested from the manufacturer including specific component information. Today, we do not know how much waste was produced when making the appliance. Tomorrow, such information can be estimated at high accuracy from the manufacturer. Today, we only have indirect and outdated estimates for the energy and environmental costs of making the appliance. Tomorrow, we know how well one manufactured appliance performs versus another.

CircThread will work with manufacturers and innovative SMEs to make tomorrow happen, by delivering deep insights about manufactured appliances.

Innovation #3
Allowing repair companies to recover as many parts as possible from used appliances

Have you heard about the European right to repair regulations? Which legally requires manufacturers to make spare parts available to repair companies?

Today, most of those spare parts are newly made. Tomorrow, we want those spare parts to be circular by recovering them from appliances that are damaged in-transit to the store or during use.

CircThread will work with manufacturers, logistics, repair and collection companies, to make it possible to check the number and quality of recoverable parts from used appliances, and turn them into spare parts for repair.

Innovation #4
Empowering collectors to decide what is best for used appliances: reuse, remanufacturing or recycling loops

What if at the end of its life, your appliance could be evaluated on its quality to be part of reuse, remanufacturing and recycling loops?

Todaydespite very large efforts to collect and recycle as much electronic waste as possible, still only about half of the European appliances receive proper collection for recycling.

Tomorrow, it will be possible for the producer responsibility organisation’s that collect your appliances to be a full part of the circular economy.

CircThread will work with collection companies to build a digital process for them, where they can receive circular economy recommendations, informed by economic and logistic evaluations, per individual appliance.

Innovation #5
Making a continuous improvement planning process for appliance lifespan extension

What if all parts of the appliance could be easily disassembled for repair purposes? And what if we could precisely know which components fail and why during the appliance use?

Today, it takes an expert technician 10 minutes to take apart a small, simple appliance and more than an hour for a large one. Tomorrow, it is possible to reduce this time, make all parts accessible and dismantable, so that the repair job becomes much easier. Today, we only have information on component failure from the manufacturer’s laboratory tests. Tomorrow, the manufacturer can have lifespan information from the user via smart appliances, and from repair company logs on what parts broke down and needed repair.

CircThread will work with designers, manufacturers and repair companies to develop the appliance information feedback process for improving lifespan extension via better design for repairability and component durability.

Innovation #6
Making it easier to know what chemicals and critical raw materials are in appliances for recycling purposes

Did you know that the European Union has the strictest regulations on chemicals in sold products in the world? And there is a programme to make sure scarce critical raw materials stay in the economy in circular loops?

Today, collector companies and recyclers have estimates about the chemicals and critical raw materials in the appliances they recover and recycle. Tomorrow, they will have specific chemicals and materials information per appliance so that the process becomes even safer and better for the circular economy.

CircThread wil work with recyclers, collectors and manufacturers, as well as standardisation bodies, to link the European Union chemicals regulations and critical raw materials databases to the recovery and recycling process.

Innovation #7
Empowering citizens to make better purchasing and use decisions for repair and lifespan

Have you ever considered how long your appliance would last when you buy it? And when it breaks down, do you feel frustrated about the lack of easy repair options?

Today, we have a vague idea of the lifespan of the appliances we buy. Tomorrow, we can obtain lifespan estimates from the manufacturer at the retailer when we buy the appliance. Today, we need to really make an effort to understand if the appliance is repairable and who can repair it. Tomorrow, it becomes easy to receive a quick repairability diagnosis.

CircThread will work with consumer bodies, repair companies and manufacturers to improve the availability of product repair and lifespan information.