Circular strategies in the End of Use phase

End of Use Examples

In France, end-of-life products are managed by “eco-organizations” in accordance with the concept of extended producer responsibility (EPR). Veolia, a global leader in the optimized management of water, energy, and waste resources, operates on behalf of one of these organizations to collect and recycle used furniture in 41 administrative departments nationwide

Veolia has developed Rob’Inn, an innovative robot that achieves a 100% recovery rate by sorting furniture waste. With a touch screen, operators identify the material, and the robot places items in appropriate pipelines for recycling (metallurgy, plastics industry). This robot enhances Veolia’s industrial capacities, expected to eliminate up to 24,000 tons of furniture waste instead of current 16,000 tons.

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Sustainability benefits:

  • The use of the innovative robot, Rob’Inn, allows for efficient sorting of furniture waste, ensuring a 100% recovery rate. This increased efficiency in recycling contributes to a reduction in the overall environmental impact associated with the disposal of used furniture.
  • The introduction of Rob’Inn is expected to eliminate up to 24,000 tons of furniture waste annually. This significant reduction in waste contributes to a more sustainable and responsible approach to resource management, aligning with circular economy principles.

The introduction of digital product passports is crucial in the circular economy strategy and aligns with the EU’s digital transformation. Although still in development, these passports are anticipated to significantly enhance textile sustainability. The goal is for each textile product to possess its own digital passport, linking it with data pertinent to its volume and sustainability.

Digital passports could potentially revolutionize every aspect of the textile value chain, from design and production to recycling and procurement. Companies may be able to calculate their carbon footprint more effectively, implement sustainability more easily in orders, and enable secondary material processors to use, repair, or recycle products more efficiently. Moreover, these passports will assist end customers in making informed purchasing decisions.

For maximum effectiveness, the data carrier should be attached to the product, enduring from purchase to recycling or disposal. Standardized data formats and interfaces are essential for ease of processing, and the data must be secure, reliable, and machine-readable. In textiles, the data carrier can be integrated into the label or an RFID chip within the fabric. However, this requires consumers to retain the label post-purchase.

In late 2022, GS1 (The Global Language of Business), a global standards organization, proposed a system for the data carrier, advocating for the use of universally recognized barcodes and QR codes (as per ISO/IEC 15459). This system aims to track the entire supply chain from raw material to post-use.

Sustainability benefits:

  • Enhanced value chain efficiency across the textile sector.
  • Accurate product data for recyclers, facilitating precise sorting and processing.

Figure: RFID chip