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Experimenting on closing the metal flow loop in the global mobile phone product system: a system dynamics modeling approach
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Industrial Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2459-0311
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Industrial Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7717-600X
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Industrial Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9215-0166
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4530-3414
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), well known as e-waste, is one of the fastest growing waste flows worldwide with increasing complexity in production through distribution to end of life (EoL). In this waste stream, a high number of mobile phones makes e-waste more compelling to examine the whole life of the specific product. In addition, having an interest in e-wastes for informal recycling in developing countries (DC), industrialized countries (IC) export e-wastes to developing countries. The emerging economies of reuse, refurbish and export of used mobile phones not only make the EoL complex, but also make the systems more challenging to sustainability. Since industrial ecology (IE) advocates resource efficiency with closed loop systems, we adapted a system dynamics modeling approach to investigate the dominance paths and driving forces for closing the metal flow loop through the concept of industrial symbiosis and eco-cycle modeling. This study finds higher efficiency for closing the loop in collection systems of used phones, mobile phone use time, and informal recycling in developing countries. By analyzing the dominant parameters, an eco-cycle model is proposed which could enhance a closed loop system by decreasing pressures on non-renewable resources. Improved policy supports accompanying consumer and corporate awareness with responsibility could create a circular consumption in the global mobile phone product system. 

Keyword [en]
closed loop, eco-cycle, mobile phones, product systems, system dynamics, substance flow analysis, e-waste, end of life
National Category
Environmental Management Energy Systems
Research subject
Industrial Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-164868OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-164868DiVA: diva2:806350
Note

QS 2015

Available from: 2015-04-20 Created: 2015-04-20 Last updated: 2015-04-20Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Industrial Ecology Approaches to Improve Metal Management: Three Modeling Experiments
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Industrial Ecology Approaches to Improve Metal Management: Three Modeling Experiments
2014 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A linear model of consumption − produce-use-dispose − has constantly increased the pressure on the environment in recent decades. There has been a great belief that technology will solve the problem, but in many cases it is only partly contributing to the solution. For a full solution, the root causes of problems need to be identified. The drivers-pressures-state-impact-response (DPSIR) framework allows the drivers of a specific problem to be identified by structuring the causal relations between humans and the environment. A state/ impact-based approach can help identify pressures and drivers, and make what can be considered an end-of-pipe response. Rather than that mainstream approach, this thesis adopts a pressure-based driver-oriented approach, which could be considered a proactive approach to environmental resource management.

In physical resource management, material flow analysis (MFA) is one of the tools used for communication and decision support for policy response on resource productivity and pollution abatement. Here, element flow analysis (EFA), a disaggre- gation of MFA for better mass balance, was applied in pollution control and resource management. The pressure-based driver-oriented approach was used to model element flows and thus identify the drivers of problems in order to improve pollution control and resource management in complex systems.

In one case study, a source-storage-transport model was developed and applied in five lakes in the Stockholm region to identify the drivers of copper pollution by monitoring the state of the environment through element flow modeling linking diffuse sources and fate in the lakes. In a second case study, a system dynamics modeling approach was applied in dynamic element flow modeling of the global mobile phone product system to investigate the drivers for closing the material flow loop through a sensitivity analysis. In a third case study, causal loop diagram modeling was used for proactive resource management to identify root causes of a problem in a complex system (product systems of physical consumer goods) by qualitatively analyzing unintended environmental consequences of an improvement action.

In the case study on lakes in the Stockholm region, the source-transport-storage model proved capable of predicting copper sources through monitoring the sediment copper content in the heavily copper-polluted lakes. The results also indicated how the model could help guide policy makers in controlling copper pollution. The system dynamics study proposed an eco-cycle model of the global mobile phone product system by tuning the drivers, which could lessen the pressures on resources by decreasing the resource demands for production and increasing resource recovery at product end-of- life. The causal loop diagram study showed that a broader systems approach is required to understand and identify the drivers for proactive resource management in a complex system, where improvement actions can lead to unintended consequences. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2014. xiii, 34 p.
Series
TRITA-IM-LIC 2014, 2014:01
Keyword
system dynamics, element flow analysis, industrial ecology, product systems, end-of-life, DPSIR, pressure-based driver-oriented approach, environmental management
National Category
Environmental Management Energy Systems
Research subject
Industrial Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-164872 (URN)978-91-7595-396-0 (ISBN)
Presentation
2015-05-08, Sal D3, Lindstedtsvägen 5, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20150420

Available from: 2015-04-20 Created: 2015-04-20 Last updated: 2015-04-20Bibliographically approved

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Sinha, RajibLaurenti, RafaelSingh, JagdeepMalmström, Maria

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