Closing the Loop: Insights on Takeback and Recovery from the Capital Equipment Coalition
For an optimized circular economy, products that have reached the end of their first useful life must be able to be recovered, repaired or refurbished as needed, and put back into use. This essential step in keeping assets circulating creates new opportunities, requires companies to rethink how certain things are done, and remains an area of discovery and innovation across the capital equipment sector, from tech to healthcare to heavy manufacturing.
Some companies have set targets for product takeback and reuse, a core element of circular business models. Microsoft is aiming for (and on track to achieve) 90% reuse of all cloud-computing assets by 2025, and projects that this will translate to about $100M in savings. Dell Technologies has committed that, by 2030, for every product a customer buys, they will reuse or recycle an equivalent product. And GE has committed to supporting several wind turbine blade recycling projects to dismantle, shred, co-process and recycle the blades at the end of their lives.
Companies leading the transition to a circular economy are already taking a specific set of actions to enable greater levels of asset recovery. A recent discussion with the members of the Capital Equipment Coalition explored the current opportunities, challenges, and lessons learned through pilot testing and scaling takeback programs. Key themes are summarized here, with examples to illustrate key ideas.