The circular economy is an economic model that emphasizes the efficient use of resources by keeping them in use for as long as possible and minimizing waste. This is achieved through strategies like reuse, repair, remanufacturing, and recycling, which are designed to extend the life of products and recover materials at the end of their life cycle.

Here are some key principles of the circular economy:

  1. Use (life) extension: This involves keeping products in use for as long as possible, often through means such as firmware upgrades that improve reliability and decrease failures.
  2. Reuse: This involves a second or third user using a product after the first deployment. Secure transfer of ownership and data sanitization is required to ensure no private data is recoverable.
  3. Sharing: Resource sharing between organizations and divisions can facilitate reuse at a local scale.
  4. Repair: This involves replacing parts on a damaged product to allow it to continue to function. Hardware testing and verification should confirm that all key functions are working.
  5. Refurbishment: This involves testing and verifying products with no major defects, and loading them with a known working version of firmware or software.
  6. Remanufacture: This involves taking a product that has some damage or use and turning it into a new product of a different class.
  7. Disassembly, Recycle and Reuse Components: This involves disassembling the product to remove valuable components for reuse in another product or segment.
  8. Recycle Raw Material: Although often not as impactful as other areas of circularity, recycling raw materials prevents them from becoming e-waste and ensures they are properly disposed of or directed to recycling facilities.

By applying these principles, the circular economy aims to create a closed-loop system that reduces waste and environmental impact, while creating value from resources that would otherwise be discarded.