Life Cycle Analysis for repair v refurbish v recycling

Recent academic paper on lifecycle analysis for circular / end of life options for a mobile phone - The analysed end-of-use scenarios repairing and refurbishing show the highest potential for smartphones in terms of Circular Economy, as most of the environmental impacts can be allocated to the device production, and the impact of additional steps to perform CE-strategies (e.g. collection of discarded phones, refurbishing) is rather low.
(PDF) Modelling of different circular end-of-use scenarios for smartphones . Available from: [accessed Jul 01 2021].


I didn’t understand this final statement: “If a smartphone is used for about 2 years in the first use without repair needed, refurbishment and remanufacturing should be preferred, as the prolonging of the use time is than much longer than within the repair scenario”

If repair isn’t needed, why is it even relevant to compare refurbishment/remanufacture with repair?

Or is this saying: after two years not needing repair, then refurbish anyway which will extend the life of the device more compared to waiting for the need to repair?

Ian - not sure I do either. I’ve just re-read it, at first it looks like a bit of a throwaway remark, right at the end of the paper. It should be better explained (I’d have told them that if I’d reviewed it). But it might be due to their view that overall, refurbishing will keep the phone in use for longer, and that length of use is the overall determining factor on impact. But that doesn’t seem to tie in with figure 6. Also it is just modelling, so other assumptions may influence. Either way, it makes a strong case for repair or refurbishment over other options.

Interesting find Mark! I’m off next week, so will add it to my reading list :+1: