Identifying ways of closing the metal flow loop in the global mobile phone product system: A system dynamics modeling approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In the past few decades, e-waste has emerged as one of the fastest growing and increasingly complex waste flows world-wide. Within e-waste, the life cycle of the mobile phone product system is particularly important because of: (1) the increasing quantities of mobile phones in this waste flow; and (2) the sustainability challenges associated with the emerging economies of reuse, refurbishment, and export of used mobile phones. This study examined the possibilities of closing the material flow loop in the global mobile phone product system (GMPPS) while addressing the broad sustainability challenges linked to recovery of materials. This was done using an adapted system dynamics modeling approach to investigate the dominant paths and drivers for closing the metal flow loop through the concept of eco-cycle. Two indicators were chosen to define the closed loop system: loop leakage and loop efficiency. Sensitivity analysis of selected parameters was used to identify potential drivers for closing the metal flow loop. The modeling work indicated leverage for management strategies aimed at closing the loop in: (i) collection systems for used phones, (ii) mobile phone use time, and (ii) informal recycling in developing countries. By analyzing the dominant parameters, an eco-cycle scenario that could promote a closed loop system by decreasing pressures on virgin materials was formulated. Improved policy support and product service systems could synchronize growth between upstream producers and end-of-life organizations and help achieve circular production and consumption in the GMPPS.

Details

Authors
  • Rajib Sinha
  • Rafael Laurenti
  • Jagdeep Singh
  • Maria E. Malmström
  • Björn Frostell
External organisations
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Management

Keywords

  • Closed loop, E-waste, Eco-cycle, End-of-life, Mobile phones, Substance flow analysis, System dynamics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-76
Number of pages12
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Volume113
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 1
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
Externally publishedYes