The use of decision support tools to accelerate the development of circular economic business models for hard disk drives and rare-earth magnets

Kali Frost, Hongyue Jin, William Olson, Mark Schaffer, Gary Spencer, Carol Handwerker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

A case study of hard disk drives (HDDs) and rare-earth magnets is presented to show the use of decision support tools to identify and assess the barriers and opportunities for circular business models. Pilot demonstration projects, which showcased HDD circular recovery strategies, were useful as a low-risk opportunity for business model experimentation and to build trust among key supply chain actors. A case study of hard disk drives and rare-earth magnets is presented to show the use of decision support tools (DSTs) to assess the complex interaction of variables that must be considered when demonstrating the viability of circular business models (CBMs). A mix of quantitative and qualitative DSTs such as life cycle assessment, techno-economic assessment, Ostrom's Framework for social-ecological systems, decision trees, and others were implemented by the iNEMI Value Recovery Project team to overcome many of the identified barriers to circular economy. The DSTs were used to guide stakeholder coordination, create and share environmental, logistical and financial data, and generate decision-making flowcharts which promote circular economic strategies. Demonstration projects were used as a low-risk opportunity for business model experimentation and to build trust among key supply chain actors. The tools highlighted by this case study could be useful for establishing or expanding CBMs for other electronic products or components, especially components containing critical materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number22
JournalMRS Energy and Sustainability
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • circular economy
  • critical materials
  • life cycle assessment
  • rare-earths
  • recovery
  • recycling
  • reuse
  • supply chain
  • sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Mechanics of Materials

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