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