Life cycle tools for future product sustainability

  • L.A. Przekop, Sarah Emily Kerr
  • Published 2004 in IEEE International Symposium on Electronics and the Environment, 2004. Conference Record. 2004

Abstract

There is a growing awareness of the business value of sustainable practices. Life cycle tools can be used to design and continually improve future products as well as provide bottom line cost savings, increase the recycled content and recyclability of products, and reduce or eliminate the hazardous substance content in products. Data collection and management procedures and tools as well as advanced life cycle technologies have been developed and implemented to meet the global market demands to increase the recycled content and recyclability and reduce the hazardous substance content in products. European legislation such as the End of Life Vehicle (ELV), Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and the Restriction of use of certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directives, as well as strict domestic and international labeling and reporting requirements have prompted automotive and electronics manufacturers to aggressively evaluate their products and processes to determine the recyclability and recycled content of their products and identify the presence of regulated and restricted substances. The automotive industry was the first to be faced with the challenge of meeting End of Life (EOL) requirements with the ELV Directive. Similarly, the electronics industry must now develop strategies to meet the demands of WEEE and RoHS and improve their product recyclability, eliminate the presence of certain hazardous substances, and implement take-back programs in a cost-effective manner. Companies that are proactive in implementing data collection and management procedures throughout their corporation and the supply chain will be better positioned to meet EOL reporting requirements, design future products that have less impact on the environment, workers, and the global community, and potentially provide an economic advantage. Strategic planning that includes tactical tools for data collection and management, supplier management, and life cycle analysis (LCA) can help move a company toward sustainability. Two tools are presented in this paper.

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