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Closing the Loop on E-waste: A Multidisciplinary Perspective

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ben BridgensORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This paper discusses the challenges faced, and opportunities identified, by a multidisciplinary team of researchers developing a closed loop system to recover valuable metals and reduce e-waste, focussing on mobile phones as a case study. The aim of the research presented here is to develop a Product Service System (PSS) that facilitates the recovery of valuable functional components and metals from mobile phone circuit boards. To create an holistic solution and limit unintended consequences, the project outlined in this paper examines appropriate component lifetimes; the (often ignored) role of the citizen in the circular economy; customer interaction with the PSS; environmental Life Cycle Analysis; and social impacts of the proposed PSS. Development of enabling technologies is described, as this facilitates recovery of components and metals, and provides an ‘emotionally durable’ external enclosure. This research also highlights the importance of understanding ‘value’ in the circular economy from a multi-faceted and inter-disciplinary perspective.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bridgens B, Hobson K, Lilley D, Lee J, Scott JL, Wilson GT

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Industrial Ecology

Year: 2019

Volume: 23

Issue: 1

Pages: 169-181

Print publication date: 01/02/2019

Online publication date: 26/08/2017

Acceptance date: 15/05/2016

Date deposited: 19/05/2017

ISSN (print): 1088-1980

ISSN (electronic): 1530-9290

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.


DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12645


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