End-of-life resource recovery from emerging electronic products: a case study of robotic vacuum cleaners

Keshav Parajuly, Komal Habib, Ciprian Cimpan, Gang Liu, Henrik Wenzel

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Integrating product design with appropriate end-of-life (EoL) processing is widely recognized to have huge potentials in improving resource recovery from electronic products. In this study, we investigate both the product characteristics and EoL processing of robotic vacuum cleaner (RVC), as a case of emerging electronic product, in order to understand the recovery fate of different materials and its linkage to product design. Ten different brands of RVC were dismantled and their material composition and design profiles were studied. Another 125 RVCs (349 kg) were used for an experimental trial at a conventional ‘shred-and-separate’ type preprocessing plant in Denmark. A detailed material flow analysis was performed throughout the recycling chain. The results show a mismatch between product design and EoL processing, and the lack of practical implementation of ‘Design for EoL’ thinking. In the best-case scenario, only 47% of the total materials in RVCs are ultimately recycled. While this low material recovery is mainly due to the lower plastic recycling rate, other market realities and the complex material flows in the recycling chain also contribute to it. The study provides a robust methodological approach for assessing the EoL performance based on the knowledge of a product and its complex recycling chain. The lessons learned can be used to support both the design and EoL processing of products with similar features, which carry a high potential for resource recovery, especially at the initial stage of the recycling chain.
TidsskriftJournal of Cleaner Production
Sider (fra-til)652-666
StatusUdgivet - 2016


  • Robotic vacuum cleaner
  • Material flow analysis
  • Material recovery
  • Design for end-of-life
  • Design for recycling
  • WEEE


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