Project "Cascade Use"

Supply Chains and Markets

Increasing demand, higher volatility on commodity markets and scarcity of resources challenge resource supply for industries. In addition, the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is receiving increasing attention by customers and the legislative body. Therefore, “waste” is gaining importance as a source for raw materials because normally products or materials originating from waste need less resource input than new products or virgin materials. Furthermore, especially reuse and recycling lead to products or materials that potentially have a positive market value, such as car components or rubber from scrap tire recycling (see scrap tires).

Knowledge about markets and their systemic contexts though is essential for economically and ecologically reasonable reuse and recycling of products. As an example for reuse, remanufacturing suffers from supply and procurement issues. The loss of products as supply for remanufacturing to less sustainable waste management solutions is most probably favoured by potential profits these products generate on other markets or under different conditions. In this context, incentives but also legislative enforcement (e.g. EPR) are often discussed solution approaches. This assumes that distinct types of reuse and recycling (managed by particular actors) are preferable from an ecologic perspective. However, whether those interventions positively affect ecologic assessments is not definite, especially because leasing, renting or deposit systems might not guaranty ecologically optimal outcomes. Therefore, it is important to understand markets for end-of-life (EOL) products as well as markets and supply chain contexts for used products and secondary resources.

In such complex environment, the Cascade Use research group addresses systemic connections and interrelations that affect supply and procurement, especially concerning the automotive remanufacturing and recycling domain. Furthermore, the research group investigates ecological implications of different supply chain designs.

We presented initial findings from our research at different conferences, such as some implications for contradictions between theory and practice and insights on the Supplier Relationships Management of independent market actors in der Circular Economy. In addition, results from this field of research were introduced into considerations on Lifecycle Management. Further studies are currently being revised or in the process of publication.


Figure: Car pool “leakage” and competition at the end-of-life