Circular Economy, Waste and Resource Management

 

Product End-of-Use Management Networks//Marie Curie Action Reintegration Grant

 

With short life-cycles and fast changes in technology, more and more products that arrive to their end-of-use stage while retaining economic value and suitable for reuse and recycling.  Although theoretically promising, relatively few circular supply loops are self-sustaining in practice.

 

This evidence raises the question of why voluntary economically viable product end-of-use management network of agents that are involved in such activities (i.e., recycler, remanufacturer, consumer, collector, etc.) are not operating on a large scale yet. Therefore, in this research we study how such networks of product end-of-use (EoU) agents emerge and evolve in response to market conditions, regulation, and changes in each other’s corporate strategy. 

 

We combine industrial ecology and operations management concepts using agent-based models as a tool to examine environmental and economic performance patterns of each agent and the overall network (i.e., the market), using the example of electronics waste and cell phones specifically.

 

The socio-economic rationale for this research was the need for better understanding how to design product EoU collection and processing networks in order to increase dramatically the economic and environmental efficiency of such systems. This research is valuable to policy makers formulating and revising product EoU regulations and to the different EoU agents looking to gain competitive advantage while complying with regulations.

 

In this research we first studied each agent carefully, how it operated and what are the type of decisions each agent do. We then created a model ontology that defines each agent, its main actions and decisions, etc. Then the model was built and tested with valid data based on multiple resources. Then a serious of simulation outputs that measure the economic and environmental performance of each agents and the entire system were generated. In our model we have four agents including: manufacturer, consumers, recycler, and refurbisher.

 

We examine the flow of phones and how those are collected and then processed. We look at the effect of extended producer responsibility and a business strategy not to be engaged in reuse activities.  Finally, we now extend the model to include more Israeli specific data on the consumers and other agents in the game. We administrated several surveys to estimate the amount of electronic waste in Israel, how much of it is stored in people homes, and how much people are willing to pay for the disposal of electronic waste.  In the future this data will be further integrated into an extended model.

 

 

Consumers' preferences and willingness to pay for electronic waste recycling using advance discrete choice modeling

 

With short life-cycles and fast changes in technology, more and more electronic products 

that arrive to their end-of-use stage while retaining economic value and suitable for reuse  

and recycling. This leads to a massive and growing stream of waste which compels 

countries to enact Electronic Waste (E-Waste) legislation and apply Extended Producer 

Responsibility (EPR) legislation, take-back programs and recycling systems. These changes 

will most likely end up costing consumer's time, effort and money and will really on 

consumer's willingness to pay and participation rate for success. 

 

Recycling of electronic waste is different from other recycling activities mainly in terms of 

volume and weight and the irregularly of the recycling action. Therefore, in order to design 

an efficient system, one must understand consumers’ preferences for e-waste recycling. 

 

Pro-Environmental Behavior (PEB), and more specifically recycling, was studied from 

several different points of view along the years, each discipline studied a different group of variables (for example monetary incentives, demographic, norms, and social pressure 

factors) that might influence the motivation to recycle. However, a relatively limited 

research was conducted on the joint and interacted influence of the different factors.

 

In this research we aim at integrating accumulative knowledge from different disciplines and examine external and internal factors on e-waste recycling while employing consumer 

behavior and decision making models. Based on a comprehensive consumers’ survey 

conducted in Israel, using econometric models we identified the variables that affect 

consumers’ choices and the extent of their influence. These models also allow to extract 

the level of willingness-to-pay for e-waste recycling services and to forecast the success of 

implementing this new recycling activity among Israeli consumers.

Publications

Stein N., Spinler S., Vanthournout H., and Blass V. “Consumer Perception of Online Attributes in Circular Economy Activities”. Accepted on December 21, 2020 in Sustainability journal, section  Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability, Digital Markets and the Consumer.

 

Makov T., Fishman T., Chertow M., Blass V. 2018.  “What Affects the Second-Hand Value of Smartphones: Evidence from eBay”, Journal of Industrial Ecology. published online August 25, 2018

 

Raz G., Ovchinnikov A., Blass V. 2017. “Economic and Environmental Assessment of Remanufacturing in a Competitive Setting”, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management 64(4): 476-490.

 

Ovchinnikov A., Blass V., Raz G. (2013) “Economic and Environmental Assessment of Refurbishing Strategies for Product-Service Bundles”, Production and Operations Management Journal, 23(5): 744-761

 

Bellinga, P., B. (2013) "Economic and Environmental Assesment of Extended Producer Responsibility and No Reuse Policies in Mobile Phone End of Life Networks Using Agent Based Modeling and Exploratory Modeling Analysis", TU Delft

 

Geyer R. and Doctori Blass V. (2010) “The Economics of Cell Phone Reuse and Recycling”, Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies 47:515–525 
DOI 10.1007/s00170-009-2228-z

 

Conferences & Lectures

P. Bellinga, Blass V., Nikolic I., “Product End-of-Life Networks: ABM Approach”, Intentional Society for Industrial Ecology 2013 conference, South Korea, June 2013

 

P. Bellinga, Blass V., Nikolic I., Stiener R., “Agent Based Modelling Approach for Cell Phone End-of-Use Management”, Intentional Society for Industrial Ecology 2015 conference, UK, July 2015.

 

Stiener R., Tetchik A., Blass V., “Eliciting Consumer Preferences towards New Recycling Program: Advance Discrete Choice Modelling”, Intentional Society for Industrial Ecology 2015 conference, UK, July 2015.

Blass V., Grinstein A., Kronrod A., Tchetchik A., Turgeman L. “The Do's And Don'ts: How To Encourage the Adoption of New Environmental Behavior”. The cases of e-waste collection and urban hydroponic agriculture.  Positive Sustainability Research Workshop by the Israel Science Foundation, Tel Aviv, May 2018