Circular Economy is gaining attention as a means to decouple economic growth from resource use. This phenomenon is particularly relevant for the washing machine industry, where several Circular Economy alternatives to the business-as-usual scenario – such as the purchasing of refurbished appliances or the use of pay-per-wash services – may unlock environmental gains and economic benefits. To succeed, these alternatives should reach a high consensus among users, who usually are not aware of the benefits achievable through Circular Economy solutions. Thus, the purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it provides an estimation of the economic and environmental potential of Circular Economy alternatives, against the current scenario, in terms of savings for users and avoided CO2 emissions. Second, it aims to investigate users’ acceptance of such alternatives. To do so, this research develops a lifecycle model to quantify the economic and environmental impacts in the current households setting and in two alternatives (refurbishment and pay-per-use), considering different usage habits. Then, a user survey is designed to collect the main data related to washing (such as number of washing cycle, washing machine capacity, energy efficiency class, etc.). Data from Italian households are collected and used to feed the lifecycle model. Results show that pay-per-wash offering allows reducing CO2 emissions, but performs worse than the business-as-usual scenario in terms of users’ costs. Thus, a proper definition of pay-per-use fees is crucial in this regard. On the other hand, purchasing refurbished washing machines allows achieving both environmental benefits and economic savings to users. Unfortunately, few users show interest in considering such alternatives.

Benefits and acceptance rate of Circular Economy alternatives: evidences from a user survey in the washing machine industry

Bressanelli G.
;
Perona M.
;
Saccani N.
2019

Abstract

Circular Economy is gaining attention as a means to decouple economic growth from resource use. This phenomenon is particularly relevant for the washing machine industry, where several Circular Economy alternatives to the business-as-usual scenario – such as the purchasing of refurbished appliances or the use of pay-per-wash services – may unlock environmental gains and economic benefits. To succeed, these alternatives should reach a high consensus among users, who usually are not aware of the benefits achievable through Circular Economy solutions. Thus, the purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it provides an estimation of the economic and environmental potential of Circular Economy alternatives, against the current scenario, in terms of savings for users and avoided CO2 emissions. Second, it aims to investigate users’ acceptance of such alternatives. To do so, this research develops a lifecycle model to quantify the economic and environmental impacts in the current households setting and in two alternatives (refurbishment and pay-per-use), considering different usage habits. Then, a user survey is designed to collect the main data related to washing (such as number of washing cycle, washing machine capacity, energy efficiency class, etc.). Data from Italian households are collected and used to feed the lifecycle model. Results show that pay-per-wash offering allows reducing CO2 emissions, but performs worse than the business-as-usual scenario in terms of users’ costs. Thus, a proper definition of pay-per-use fees is crucial in this regard. On the other hand, purchasing refurbished washing machines allows achieving both environmental benefits and economic savings to users. Unfortunately, few users show interest in considering such alternatives.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11379/525809
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