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Designing electronics for a circular economy

Piloting circular economy design principles in product development

More than 80% of a product’s environmental impact is determined at the design stage. Waste and pollution do not exist by accident, they are the result of design decisions.

By piloting design principles across different projects, we support Electrolux in their aspiration of keeping products and resources in the loop. Our careful research and analysis help optimize product design for circularity, making it practically viable to harness value from goods and services.

Electrolux - Infinity Vacuum cleaner

INFINITY: redefining vacuum cleaner’s circularity

The Infinity design pilot was a groundbreaking initiative aimed at transforming the approach to sustainability in the small electronics and vacuum cleaner industry. Collaborating closely with Electrolux, our team at Stena Circular Consulting set out to develop the world's first circular vacuum cleaner.

Driven by a shared commitment to sustainability, the project unfolded through careful planning and iterative design. Every step, from defining the project vision to refining manufacturing processes, was guided by the goal of achieving maximum circularity. The result is the Infinity prototype - a vacuum cleaner made entirely from recycled materials and harvested components, boasting 100% second-life content.

Electrolux - 2Infinity vacuum cleaner

2-INFINITY: setting new recyclability standards

Expanding on the achievements of Infinity, we launched the 2-Infinity initiative - aiming to pioneer recyclability in vacuum cleaner. Intending to create a fully recyclable product and to set new sustainability standards in the small electronics industry.

The pilot involved extensive research and development efforts to optimize the product’s design for recycling. Drawing from previous insights, our teams collaborated closely to engineer a product that prioritized material selection, modularity and end-of-life handling.

The final prototype achieved 90% recyclability while maintaining performance and quality.  

Electrolux - Recyclability tool

RECYCLABILITY TOOL: empowering design processes

Our recent partnership developed a recyclability tool prototype to aid in product development. We began with a thorough opportunities and challenges analysis of how recyclability rates can be improved.

The tool’s features – functions, desired metrics, and usage – were agreed upon with Electrolux before diving into an iterative process of sprints to develop the tool demo versions. Our team was keen to deliver a user-friendly, applicable solution that matched the client’s needs perfectly.

The tool enables the internal design and R&D team to obtain rough estimations of both existing and future products' recyclability rates, all while in the design phase. The availability of this data as early as in the design stage of a product is crucial for preventing waste and pollution throughout the product lifecycle.

As our team further develops this prototype’s functionality, we look forward to sharing the tool with many other businesses.  

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