Strategic CARE project


In Europe is now a clear societal need for take-back and recycling of electronic products. “Closing the loop” would serve several (partly interlinked) goals, such as: 

  • Reduction of the amount of materials and environmentally relevant substances going to landfill,
  • Control of environmentally relevant substances (inorganic) or annihilation of such substances (organic),
  • Recycling of components and materials so that they keep maximum value, contributing to a sustainability.


Since July 1999 SCARE is in the implementation phase and it will run until June 2004. The Austrian Society for Systems Engineering and Automation is the co-ordinator of SCARE, with total project costs of 100 million EURO. 


The closed product life cycle will consist of two main streams:

  • The “traditional” product life chain (such as production, distribution and use) introducing environmental concerns in this stream is called “Eco-design”,
  • Re-using and recycling products, components and materials (such as take back, re-use and recycling) – operation of this stream is called “End-of life Management”.

In order to successfully achieve the targets set out in the WEEE Directive, all involved parties have to act according to a common strategy to make it beneficial from both environmental, political, social and economical perspectives. Uncoordinated approaches to R&D and recycling strategies will lead to duplicated effort, misallocated investment and inefficient use of resources. A strategic approach involving and co-ordinating all actors in the product life cycle has a greater chance not only to meet legislative targets relating to collection, recycling, re-use, but to demonstrate practical ways of going beyond these targets:


  • Energy consumption strategies relating to production and use stages of electronic products would contribute to a European wide strategy for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and going beyond the 15 nations pact of an 8% reduction in next 10-14 years (Kyoto protocol),
  • The involvement of many different parties requires broad co-ordination to initiate break-through steps. Endless loop-discussions have to be avoided,
  • SMEs and supply-companies need to be well prepared for the resulting demands placed on them by large companies,
  • Europe has good expertise in eco-design and end-of life management, particularly in the electronics sector. This should be supported to maintain Europe as a competitive strength versus US and Japan, which are now starting to catch-up,
  • The “new” activities in the product life-cycle loop will catalyse employment and contribute to a sustainable social development.



Core Competencies 

In order to explore Ecodesign and End-of-Life management the following main issues shall be considered during further investigations:


Innovative Product/System Design

  • Development of products which are fast to disassemble, enabling the re-use of components and materials
  • Technical innovations to reduce the environmental impact of production and product:
  • Avoidance of hazardous substances
  • Reduced material weight
  • Lower power consumption
  • Conversion of products into services (dematerialization)
  • Development of new cores technologies such as solar power, grow-again materials, ...



New Production Technologies

  • Investigation of specific application possibilities of materials, which have already been developed in co-operation with the suppliers
  • Development of industrial, environmentally sound production processes
  • Development of processes that enable the use of industrial second raw materials in manufacturing



Use Phase (Consumer Behaviour)

  • Models for product performance under different use scenarios (public, corporate)
  • Optimising take back and bring back systems specific to consumer groups
  • Minimising energy consumption and maximising product lifetime
  • Support systems for consumer organisations and government



End-of-life Management

  • Product re-use (refurbishment, second hand markets, legal and guarantee issues)
  • Product Take-back (collections scenarios, sorting, logistics)
  • Separation (disassembly technology and separation processes, component sorting, material identification)
  • Component re-use (quality assessment, second hand market, legal and guarantee issues)
  • Recycled material processing (process technology, economies of scal)


In addition, there are three horizontal core competencies, which fulfil a support function for all these main issues.



Information Management

  • Information exchange between all involved players in the chain
  • Logistics of product, component and material handling
  • Life Cycle Analysis
  • Development of an in the product integrated identification unit that enables the collection of data relevant to its subsequent re-use/recycling
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Re-use market



Education and Training of Strategy Makers, Designers, Recyclers, ...

  • Specialist education/training
  • Modules within mainstream educational/training



Financial & Economical aspects

  • Life Cycle costing
  • eco-efficiency
  • monitoring legal developments