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A process model representation of the end-of-life phase of a product in a circular economy to identify standards needs



Nehika Mathur, Noah Last, KC Morris


Circular Economy (CE) efforts aim to tackle complex challenges such as climate change, depleting natural resources, and brittle supply chains while ensuring societal needs are met. The development of secondary sources as industrial feedstocks is important to creating resilient supply chains that contribute towards diverting resources away from landfills, mitigating deleterious environmental impacts, and minimizing market volatility. However, a major challenge foreseen in implementing CE manufacturing practices is the coordination and digitalization of the large quantities of generated information at each phase of a product's life cycle. This paper builds upon earlier work that illustrates a top-level product manufacturing CE to integrate circular manufacturing practices and provides an extended information management framework that explores the cyclical nature of CE information flows specifically related to material recovery. Using the Integrated Definition for Process Modeling, IDEF0, technique this paper examines the End-of-life function envisioned under a CE manufacturing model. This function was decomposed into subsequent child functions and analyzed relative to other product life cycle phases. The main contributions of the proposed framework are the identification of the information flows and the drivers of change (i.e., feedback loops) that are essential for creating secondary material streams. The functional model will elucidate the discussion around CE and resource regeneration, that is, 'designing out waste' and decoupling economic growth from resource depletion. The paper also reviews the current global product EoL practices and in the context of the developed IDEF0 Resurrection model, identifies gaps in product EoL processing research, and those practices related to the formalization of key metrics, terminology, and standards.
Frontiers in Manufacturing Technology


Circular Economy, material recovery, end-of-life, circular economy standards, circular economy metrics, sustainable manufacturing, sustainable development, process models, IDEF0


Mathur, N. , Last, N. and Morris, K. (2023), A process model representation of the end-of-life phase of a product in a circular economy to identify standards needs, Frontiers in Manufacturing Technology, [online],, (Accessed July 13, 2024)


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Created April 18, 2023