Transitioning towards a circular economy at an electronics manufacturer: Barriers and solutions for implementing a take back system in the US

University essay from Lunds universitet/Innovationsteknik

Abstract: So far, over 50 million tonnes of e-waste have been generated globally (World Economic Forum, 2019), raising the question of the role of circular economy in combating climate change (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2021). This thesis explores the opportunities for Axis Communications to introduce a take back system for recycling decommissioned products in the US. Within this scope, several areas are investigated. Firstly, possible barriers for electronics manufacturers when establishing a take back system are reviewed, including how to overcome these barriers. Secondly, potential barriers for stakeholders in the downstream supply chain to participate in the system are examined, along with possible ways to incentivize them to join the take back system. Finally, a set of next steps are outlined for Axis to proceed with establishing a take back system. These questions were answered by a literature review in combination with interviews and workshops. The insights from interviews were compiled into a visualization of clustered barriers, to get an overview of all barriers for an electronics manufacturer to establish a take back system. Next, a Solution Evaluation Matrix was developed, where potential solutions to each barrier were evaluated, based on the electronics manufacturer's capacity (ability and willingness) to execute them and the impact on the implementation. The thesis culminates in a roadmap for Axis, including a set of recommended next steps of how to move forward with implementing a take back system. In conclusion, the thesis contributes to academic research, by addressing incentivization from a company to another, and to electronics manufacturers' practical implementation of a take back system.

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