Is Prolonging the Lifetime of Passive Durable Products a Low-Hanging Fruit of a Circular Economy? A Multiple Case Study
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2019
Extending the lifetime of passive products, i.e., products that do not consume materials or energy during the use phase, by implementing product-service systems (PSS) has a potential to reduce the environmental impact while being an attractive and straightforward measure for companies to implement. This research assesses the viability of introducing PSS for passive products, by documenting five real product cases of prolonging the lifetime through repair or refurbishment and by quantifying, through life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC), the change in environmental and economic outcome. The environmental impact (measured as global warming potential over the life cycle) was reduced for all cases because extraction and production dominated the impact. This reduction was 45–72% for most cases and mainly influenced by the number of reuses and the relative environmental burden of the components whose lifetime was prolonged. The costs for the company (measured as LCC from the manufacturer’s perspective) decreased too by 8–37%. The main reason that costs reduced less than the environmental impact is that some costs have no equivalent in LCA, e.g., administration and labor costs for services. The decreases in both LCA and LCC results, as well as the willingness of the companies to implement the changes, demonstrate that this measure can be financially attractive for companies to implement and effectively contribute to a circular economy.
life cycle costing
life cycle assessment