Title: The eco-efficiency of reuse centres critically explored – the washing machine case

Authors: Tom Devoldere, Barbara Willems, Joost R. Duflou, Wim Dewulf

Addresses: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Center for Industrial Management, Celestijnenlaan 300A, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium. ' Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Center for Industrial Management, Celestijnenlaan 300A, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium. ' Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Center for Industrial Management, Celestijnenlaan 300A, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium. ' Group T – International University College Leuven, Leuven Engineering College, A. Vesaliusstraat 13, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium

Abstract: By repairing and reselling used products, reuse centres aim at creating low-skill jobs while offering low-cost and environmentally beneficial products. However, due to a combination of decreased efficiency of worn-out products and technological progress embodied in new products, lifetime extension of old products is not always the most beneficial scenario from an environmental nor an economic point of view. This paper investigates this trade-off for the case of washing machines in a Belgian context. For selected types of washing machines, critical reuse ages are determined above which reuse is environmentally or economically undesirable. A sensitivity analysis shows that these critical reuse ages are often sensitive to small changes of the input parameters.

Keywords: reuse centres; product reuse; total cost of ownership; TCO; life cycle environmental impact; life time optimisation; washing machines; eco-efficiency; Belgium; sensitivity analysis; critical reuse ages; sustainable manufacturing; sustainability.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSM.2009.023974

International Journal of Sustainable Manufacturing, 2009 Vol.1 No.3, pp.265 - 285

Published online: 22 Mar 2009 *

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