The circular economy is gaining importance in the electrical, electronic and household appliance (EEA) industry. As a result, more and more manufacturers in this sector are talking about their sustainability goals, in particular about an increased use of recycled materials in their end products. To help these customers find more sustainable solutions, materials manufacturer Covestro has teamed up with REnato lab, a circular economy consultancy focused on resource efficiency, to publish the "Circular Design Guidebook" – a guide to help designers and developers make their next-generation products more circular.
“The key to solving the problem of material waste is to consider the end of product life in the initial design phase to facilitate recycling,” said Lily Wang, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Electronics, Electrical and Appliances in Covestro's Polycarbonates segment. “This guide helps incorporate circular thinking at the early stages for designers, developers and those in the value chain, who can use it as a material selection method that is the first of its kind in the EEA industry.”
To achieve their sustainability goals, OEMs are looking to increase the use of recycled materials, improve resource use efficiency, extend product life and ensure better recyclability of their products – among other measures as part of a circular approach. Covestro itself has already supplied major EEA brands with polycarbonate grades containing post-consumer recyclate.
The book uses case studies and processes to explain material selection so that products meet sustainability and recyclability requirements. It also describes the resource constraints facing the industry, supply chain-oriented thinking, relevant business models, and a basic introduction to the circular economy. The book can also be used for discussions with customers as well as for presentations and workshops.
“Material selection, in particular, is the foundation for circular design to optimize resource efficiency,” says Jackie Wang, founder and CEO of REnato lab. “Researching resource efficiency solutions is the core mission of REnato lab. Through the partnership with Covestro, we have completed the first design guide on material selection for the EEA industry. The book is intended to provide examples and help for the industry and serve as an easy-to-read guide for the general public.”
The guidebook consists of three chapters – “From Linear to Circular,” “Circular Design” and “Material Selection from a Sustainable Perspective” – and is available in English, German and Chinese. With this guidebook, Covestro aims to drive the development of the circular economy in the EEA industry and expand it to other sectors in the future.