Renounce page asset Page Asset
Case studies
January 1, 2020
EU Project

Activating Circular Services in the Electronic Sector

Waste from e-products is one of the fastest-growing waste streams in the world today. There is an urgent need for driving the adoption of a circular and resource-efficient economy for electric and electronic equipment (EEE).

When working on this goal, leading research partners in the field - AIMPLAS, WEEE Forum, Loughborough University, and GAIKER - found the whitepaper of Circularise that offers the breakthrough solution for the technical demands of circular business models.

From the 1st of May 2018 until the 30th Oct 2022, Circularise was leading the technical development of the research project ‘Activating Circular Services in the Electric and Electronic Services’ (C-SERVEES), consisting of 16 consortium members.

The project improved the sustainability and resource efficiency of e-product value chains by creating and testing circular business models. The accessibility of reliable material data and traceability solutions provided companies with the possibility to not only make the products more circular, but also to prove, through Circularise, the products’ sustainability and recycled material content claims.

Current challenge with e-waste

E-waste is one of the fastest-growing waste streams. It is projected to grow from 57 million tonnes in 2021 to 74 million tonnes in 2030. Further, only one-fifth of the e-waste mass is recycled. This poses an issue for waste management and leads to a massive loss of valuable materials.

Objectives of the C-SERVEES project

Realising this problem, the objective of the C-SERVEES project was to boost a resource-efficient economy in the electrical and electronic sector. This includes designing products that last longer and can be easily recycled, using more sustainable materials, offering lease options, employing 3D printing for repair and upgrade, and reducing the negative social impacts (e.g. on workers’ human rights and health & safety) of a product.

The goal was achieved by testing new circular business models with eco-innovative services for four e-products that jointly account for 77% of the waste from EEE (WEEE) collected in the EU:

  1. TV sets
  2. Washing machines
  3. Printers
  4. Sensors that monitor network connections

Over the course of four years researchers and IT providers - led by AIMPLAS, GAIKER, Loughborough University, RINA Consulting, WEEE Forum, and Circularise - delivered the knowledge, policy analysis, material composition expertise, business development support, and technologies to create circular economy business models for Lexmark, ADVA, and Arcelik. The partners conducted pilots with an aim to improve business models (e.g. leasing a product), repair (collaboration with repair shops and 3D printing), and acceptance of refurbished products. Circularise was leading the efforts.

Circularise’s role within C-SERVEES

The hurdle to capturing the value of e-waste lies in a lack of effective information transfer. Efficiently processing complex products at end of life requires key data on product composition. However, providing this information is no small task given the quantity, diversity, and complexity of electronic products. This is where Circularise stepped in.

To support the development of new circular business models in C-SERVEES, Circularise has  worked on a secure solution for information exchange in the EEE supply chain. Circularise provided Arcelik, ADVA, and Lexmark with the opportunity to trace recycled material content, investigate closed-loop solutions, and improve the recycling of their products. Through the Circularise technology, material and composition data from suppliers were decentrally connected and accessible to the brands. This data, in turn, enabled brands to analyse the recycled material content, recyclability, repairability, and opportunities for improving material composition.

Circularise’s data solution came in 3 aspects:

  1. Recycled content traceability: the Digital Product Passport system which allows suppliers and manufacturers to create an immutable digital record containing key product information which moves with the physical products through the supply chain.
  2. A decentralised, safe platform for material data communication: Smart Questioning technology that permits companies to selectively and securely share key insights with particular value chain partners only. For example, end-of-life processors can obtain all the information they need to process electronics and get maximum value from the waste, without sharing sensitive information. Each supplier decides how much they share and provides data themselves in a decentralised way
  3. An API integration then enables this technology to connect with existing ERP systems and other software to ensure maximal automation.

Over the course of the research, Circularise was able to demonstrate a high quality of the work and a favourable collaboration environment. The efforts have resulted in Arçelik becoming a commercial customer of Circularise, as well as Circularise scaling to a commercially successful company.


C-SERVEES has officially been closed. The project started on the 1st of May 2018 and ended on the 30th of October 2022.

Outcomes of the C-SERVEES project

The research project has led to the creation and testing of circular business modules for 4 e-products: TV sets, washing machines, laser printers and cartridges, and sensors monitoring network connections. See the outcomes demonstrations below. 

1. TV sets
Demonstration of project outcomes for TV sets

2. Washing machines
Demonstration of project outcomes for washing machines

3. Laser printers and their cartridges
Demonstration of project outcomes for printers

4. Sensors that monitor network connections
Demonstration of project outcomes for sensors

The new business models integrated the following circularity measures: 

  • Creation of ITC services for circularity-related data exchange between supply chain actors (e.g. tracing product’s history such as actions performed over the products - leasing, maintenance, and replacement of components)
  • Development of leasing options for specific customer types (e.g. individuals with distinguishing needs, companies, public administrations, and universities/schools)
  • Customisation services and eco-design solutions (eg. use of recycled materials, 3D printing, modular design, reparability, and design for end-of-life)
  • Improvement of WEEE management services for reducing, reusing, and disposing of waste

All in all, the eco-innovative services have improved the social and environmental sustainability of the 4 products, as compared to the status quo characterised by exclusively linear production processes. The products under the new business models have reduced global warming by 20%, human health and ecosystems quality by 22%, resource scarcity by 14% and improved circularity by 35% (the calculations exclude electricity and consumables during the use phase). Furthermore, the demonstrated circular economy models have reduced social impacts, such as impacts on human rights, health & safety of workers, by an average of 15%. 

By testing new business models, C-SERVEES project partners showcased the best-example practices within the EEE industry. Other e-product manufacturers around the world will adopt these case studies to boost sustainability. Thus, C-SERVEES will encourage the circular economy in the electrical and electronic sector.


"C-SERVEES project has delivered validated, transferable and promising outcomes to address and implement circular economy processes from a systemic approach in the E&E sector, contributing to the improvement of WEEE prevention, collection and recovery, which is essential to boost the circular economy and enhance resource efficiency. The new Circular Economy Business Models developed and successfully tested and validated in the project, supported by the innovative ICT tools developed, have led to meaningful and promising experiences and results, which the involved industrial partners will consider and further develop in the future. Additionally, the potential measures proposed to improve policy related to the products and services in the E&E sector, as well as the set of policy recommendations provided to overcome legislative barriers complete the holistic approach of the circular economy in the E&E sector adopted in C-SERVEES. We are proud to have led such an experienced, skilled and professional consortium, which indeed has both enabled and enriched the project activities to achieve the project objectives."

Itziar Carracedo Fernández - Head of International Projects, AIMPLAS

"C-SERVEES was an excellent opportunity for Circularise to take years of research on the perfect way of matching privacy and data protection with the requirements of data sharing for the circular economy. In collaboration with industry partners, we managed to not only build a good and safe technology without time pressure, but to also make sure it really meets the market needs. The resulting commercial relationships with one of our project partners, Arcelik, was a great success and milestone in showing tracing sustainability of products can be a marketable product for brands."

Teresa Oberhauser - EU Project Lead, Circularise

“In a world increasingly aware of its global environmental changes, linear approaches to products’ consumption are leading to raw material scarcity, price volatility, supply disruptions, and alarming waste generation. Although the concept of Circular Economy is generally acknowledged and accepted, it is proving difficult to implement. To date, the industry adoption of Circular Economy Business Models (CEBM) has been piecemeal despite regulatory, business, and economic drivers. To address this gap, C-SERVEES developed a novel CEBM Innovation Framework for the Electrical and Electronic (E&E) sector, which was applied to four E&E products via large-scale demonstrations. C-SERVEES CEBM Innovation Framework holistically integrates business strategy and circular economy actions that are underpinned by eco-design, ICT technologies, competitive finance models, and circularity indicators.”

Mohamed Osmani - Professor of Sustainable Design and Construction, Loughborough University

“C-SERVEES taught us that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to circularity. Some companies will choose, for different reasons, to focus on refurbishing or remanufacturing of the products that have been marketed in the past whilst others will seek to use more recycled content in the manufacturing of new products. The choice between one or the other approach depends on multiple parameters, inter alia price elasticity of demand, the predominance of B2B products in the portfolio, the longevity of their products, the breadth, and width of the reverse logistics network, and so forth. C-SERVEES has elucidated some of these issues, has contributed to better circular economy business models and has allowed the partners in the consortium to make informed decisions in the circular economy space.”

Pascal Leroy - Director General, WEEE Forum

Project partners


ADVA creates intelligent, software-automated solutions for tomorrow’s networks, enabling the transport of increasing amounts of data across the globe.


AIMPLAS is a plastics technology centre that offers global R&D&I solutions for businesses that span the entire value chain from raw material manufacturers to plastic processors and end users.


Arçelik is the largest in Turkey multinational household appliances manufacturer.


Circularise is a start-up that provides two leading software solutions for end-to-end supply chain traceability and transparency: MassBalancer to automate mass balance bookkeeping and Digital Product Passports for end-to-end batch traceability.

Emaús Fundación Social

Emaus is a movement of active solidarity with a goal to fight for a more supportive, fair, and equitable society. Their areas of work include social and solidarity economy, socialisation, and education for social change.


Erion is the largest Italian system of Extended Producer Responsibility for the management of waste associated with electronic products and for the waste of tobacco products.


Gaiker is a technology centre devoted to the up-take of own knowledge and to the development of new technologies that are later transferred to customers in diverse industries.


Greentronics are experts in the collection, treatment, recycling, and reuse of WEEE in Romania. The company offers custom-tailored solutions throughout the entire life cycle of EEE.

Indumetal Recycling S.A.

Indumetal Recycling is a pioneer company in the recycling of EEE and complex scrap in Europe, as well as in the logistics and dismantling services for industrial facilities.


Lexmark is a provider of printing and imaging products, software solutions, and services that help customers save time and money in more than 170 countries.

Loughborough University

Loughborough is one of the top 20 research-led universities in the United Kingdom. The university offers innovative undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, outstanding research, and access to a comprehensible network.

Particula Group

Particula Group develops circular bioeconomy solutions, with a focus on sustainable biomass cultivation processes, proprietary technology, and circular bio-based products. Particular Group also work closely with 3D printing in mass production.

PNO Innovation S.L.

PNO Innovation S.L. is a Spanish branch of the PNO Innovation, part of PNO Group. PNO is a market leader in public funding and innovation services in Europe. PNO works on fostering connections and initiating, funding, managing, and implementing innovation.

Rina Consulting

Rina Consulting offers a wide range of testing, inspection, certification, and engineering solutions across a wide range of markets including, among others, marine, energy and mobility, real estate and infrastructure, space and defence, industry 4.0.


SAT is a research, consulting, and technology-transfer organisation in that develops solutions for the electronic sectors in which the concept of sustainable development can be realised through specific projects.

Soltel IT Software

Soltel IT Software specialises in customised software development: web, and mobile solutions, workflow design, business process management, and enabling technologies for knowledge generation. It also offers services as a software factory, IT service management, testing lab, and assurance office.

WEEE Forum

The WEEE Forum is the world's largest multi-national centre of competence as regards operational know-how concerning the management of WEEE. It includes 46 WEEE producer responsibility organisations.

Explore other resources on the topic

Download the free guide
Thank you!
Enter your details to watch the webinar
Download the free
Case studies
New content directly in your mailbox
  • Sign up to stay up-to-date on regulations
  • Get invitations to events
  • Access to our newest content
IconLeft arrow
Back to top