Digitalization keeps waste-reduced products in the loop and unlocks long-term revenue streams in the transition towards the circular economy.
As companies pick up the pace to optimize waste reduction practices, e-waste is still set to increase by 40% in 2030. Take the smartphone as an example. It's difficult to pry open, and each generation sees more discrete and replaceable parts squeezed onto the main circuit board.
Today, demand for sustainable, durable products is not only coming from legislators and environmentalists but also eco-conscious consumers. As the industry shifts towards a zero-waste value chain, companies have to adapt by not only designing products that last; they have to be easy to repair, refill or refurbish.
Policies are accelerating the transition towards a circular economy: France's repairability index is paving the way for a durability index by 2024 to measure product longevity; the EU is phasing out landfilling by 2025 for recyclable waste; and as part of the Decade of Action, the UN aims to substantially reduce waste generation by 2030.
The pressure to conform to changing demand and strict environmental regulations requires fast action — the time to act is now. With digitalization, making durable products secures a company's ability to unlock long-term revenue streams while sending zero waste to the landfill.
Read our ebook to discover how digitalization empowers companies to move away from planned obsolescence and keep zero-waste products in the loop.
What will it take to transform a throwaway economy into a circular one that eliminates waste, circulates resources and regenerates nature? The answer: A closed-loop system — all the way from design and engineering to service and remanufacture. Circular-driven companies are embracing digital solutions, including virtual twin technology to:
According to a recent FT Focus report, at least 40% of companies are in the process of embedding circular design principles into the product development lifecycle. While it's crucial to recover and retain material value in a circular economy, designing products so they may be reused ensures that waste materials remain in use for as long as possible, generating the maximum value for your customers and generations to come.
Decisions during the design stage can determine 80% (Reference: Graedel & Allenby, 1995) of your product’s environmental impact. To improve the efficiency of your design and development processes, companies opt for a digital platform with virtual twin capabilities. Through virtual twin technology, you can:
Collaboratively model and simulate to fit evolving customer expectations
Adapt eco designs into manufacturing to produce for repair, refill and refurbish or recyclability
Verify circular economy waste management practices from end to end with lifecycle analysis
Reducing waste is good but by how much? And how much more energy is required to keep that waste in circulation? The real challenge lies in transforming waste into raw materials for other products and processes.
By consistently performing lifecycle analysis, companies measure a product's environmental impact in every step of its lifecycle — from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling. Lifecycle assessment (LCA), combined with virtual twin technology, places your sustainability targets at the heart of operational optimization by assessing the environmental impact at every stage of the product life cycle.
"LCA brings the metrics needed to evaluate environmental impact across the product life cycle. Integrating that with virtual twin technology opens new possibilities to address those impacts very early on."
Keeping zero-waste products in the loop can be profitable while bringing enormous social and environmental value. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimated that if the manufacturing industry were to align with circular principles, it could save up to US$630 billion a year on raw materials in the EU alone.
To optimize material reuse, companies use advanced simulation technology to determine how much of a product can be repaired, refilled and refurbished or recycled. These productive loops — including servicing, parts recovery and recycling — maintain the highest value while minimizing waste and extracting natural resources. Access to the correct data at the right time is critical in evaluating the outcomes of multiple scenarios.
"We cannot recycle our way out of this. To build a truly sustainable economy, we have to not only consume better, but consume less. This means designing more durable and recyclable products as well as offering services for repair and end-of-life recovery."
By optimizing waste management strategies with the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform, companies can bring together all teams to collaborate and contribute in a circular ecosystem. Equipped with virtual twin technology, the platform empowers them to:
Reduce waste materials through optimized light weighting
Perform fatigue analysis to improve product durability
Design for disassembly and adapt manufacturing processes accordingly while managing costs
Durability can make or break a product. With pressure mounting to reduce waste generation by 2030, circular-driven companies need to act fast to radically keep products in the loop and improve waste reduction practices.
Learn more about how our industry solutions can help you optimize waste reduction and strengthen competitive advantage
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