Assessing potentials for mobile/smartphone reuse/remanufacture and recycling in Germany for a closed loop of secondary precious and critical metals

Nicoleta Gurita, Magnus Fröhling, Jan Bongaerts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Over time, through incremental innovation, mobile phones and smartphones have more and more functions, becoming indispensable for everyday life. Simultaneously the number of owners of such devices has been increasing, while the products are being replaced at ever-shorter time intervals. Thus, end-of-life mobile phones and smartphones constitute one of the fastest growing electrical and electronic equipment waste streams in the world. At the same time, collection, reuse/remanufacture and recycling of the WEEE are low. For example, in Germany, the collection and reuse rates of these devices are each around 5%. The increasing number of buyers and the fact that products have a short use life implies an increased demand for (critical and precious) metals needed for the production of mobile and smartphones. The aims of this paper are to assess and evaluate the potential size of a reuse/remanufacture market in Germany for mobile and smartphones, its state of art and challenges on implementing reuse/remanufacturing, and in the end recycling of these products towards achieving a closed loop supply of the precious and critical metals contained in these products. As such, an inventory of units put on the market, a potential return inventory based on several scenarios regarding the return and reuse/remanufacture in Germany are examined. Furthermore, state of art and challenges of remanufacturing mobile phones and smartphones in Germany are explored. Thus, estimates for the potential for mobile and smartphone reuse/remanufacture and recycling in Germany are given.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Remanufacturing
Volume8
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Germany
  • Mobile and smartphone
  • Recycling
  • Remanufacture
  • Reuse

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