The project outcomes and use of the ResCoM software platform contribute to the following areas:
A circular economy is one that is restorative and regenerative by design, and aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. It distinguishes between technical and biological cycles. The ResCoM framework addresses the problem of structural waste by evaluating possible forms of closing the loop, including design for reuse, redistribution, remanufacturing, refurbishment and recycling. Waste is turned into a valuable resource, improving resource efficiency by retaining products or components after use and putting them back into the value chain.
ResCoM developed four pilots with OEMs in different industries (automobile, white goods, consumer electronics and consumer products). Lessons learned from the pilots provided generic guidelines for adapting the ResCoM framework to individual companies and facilitating market uptake.
ResCoM can help companies to boost their competitiveness. Manufacturers adopting the ResCoM framework can increase resource efficiency and reduce pressure against resource shortage and scarcity. They will be able to significantly reduce raw material costs, distributing them over several usecycles of their products and creating a strategic cost advantage. Specifically, EU-based companies can deter the entry of low cost (non EU-based) competitors by introducing lower cost remanufactured products. Adopting the ResCoM framework will help companies adjust to market changes more quickly than in linear models.
Implementing changes based on the ResCoM framework is likely to have significant impacts on waste reduction, energy reduction and resource conservation: For example, in comparison to manufacturing from new, only 10 to 15% of virgin material is required in remanufacturing, and 85% of energy can be saved. Hence, an uptake of remanufacturing has potential to reduce the degradation of ecosystems on a similar scale.
New reverse logistics and remanufacturing activities that will be introduced by companies implementing the ResCoM framework will have higher potential of creating new jobs in the supply chain and manufacturing.
ResCoM has created a set of tools and models for researchers working in the area of closed-loop product systems. The learnings and data from the industrial pilots were used as a knowledge base to derive guidelines for the generic framework. Furthermore, the ResCoM software platform to support decision making can also be used by scientists, designers and operational managers to research, plan and implement closed-loop product systems.
European Commission initiatives and standards
Various European initiatives address areas related to ResCoM. The ResCoM project seeks opportunities to leverage and support these initiatives. The outcome of the ResCoM project will also help inform policy making via the European Resource Efficiency Programme and provide input to standardisation committees at European and other levels.