About the project sustainablySMART

Full project title: Sustainable Smart Mobile Devices Lifecycles through Advanced Re-design, Reliability, and Re-use and Remanufacturing Technologies

In the past, used electronics components were solely re-used in low-cost products, growing digitalization of our daily lives comes with numerous new product concepts, which could make perfect use of parts and components harvested from used smartphones and tablets.

sustainablySMART demonstrates the feasibility of a ‘design for circular economy’ approach for more conventional mobile IT designs, which includes the implementation of environmental design criteria:

  • long lifetime: reliability of target parts and components for second life / cascade reuse
  • reparability
  • design for manual and automated disassembly
  • accomplishment of verified data erasure compatibility
Tablet study by Fraunhofer IZM: Just how easily can they be recycled or repaired?
Tablet study by Fraunhofer IZM: Just how easily can they be recycled or repaired?

Our Goals and Rationale

An effective circular economy approach for smart mobile devices prioritizes lifetime extension of products and components. Modularized smartphones are a promising concept as they are easy to disassemble, to upgrade and to repair. Technically this calls for standardized interfaces.


Regarding the end of first life of such products, it is a challenge to tap into the upcoming wave of waste mobile ICT devices: Smartphones where introduced to the market at large only in 2009, tablets slightly later. We expect in the near-term future high return rates of these devices, which is confirmed by recycling companies. The market perspective indicates that we only see the beginning of a larger wave of discarded units.


This is a perfect timing to invest in research to reuse and refurbish these products with sophisticated technologies. Apart, we consider technological evolution toward the Internet of Things, which may provide a wide field for cascade re-use of single components.


The consortium includes three research institutions, some outstanding entrepreneurs and innovative technology developers.


The interdisciplinary partnership is dominated by industry from all relevant steps of a future sustainable mobile IT life cycle:

  • product designers
  • electronics manufacturing service
  • test house
  • equipment suppliers
  • machinery manufacturers
  • repair tool provider


1 August 2018

Project partner Fairphone has collected more than a million euros in investments
From now on, Fairphone’s crowdfunding campaign, which was initially in private mode, is publicly available on the Oneplanetcrowd platform. Within the last days, Fairphone has managed to collect more than one million euros in investment funds.
The campaign aims to secure investments of one million euros - with a ceiling of 2.5 million euros. Investors can participate [read more]

Fairphone's crowdfunding campaign
Fairphone's crowdfunding campaign

21 May 2018

Welcome to the Jungle: The latest PuzzlePhone blog sheds some light on the vast number of eco labels

Alejandro Santacreu, leading the team behind the PuzzlePhone, explains why ecolabels matter and how they influence new product developments like the PuzzlePhone, and what they mean to consumers. To some of the label developments the project sustainablySMART already provided technical input, … [read more]

EU Eco Flower certification, FSC label and CE marking
EU Eco Flower certification, FSC label and CE marking

23 April 2018

Philips Digital Voice Recorder designed for Circular Economy

The Austrian project partners Speech Processing Solution and the research team ECODESIGN from the Vienna University of Technology developed a new product concept for a Digital Voice Recorder based on the principles of Circular Economy. The digital voice recorder is typically used for professional dictation in hospitals or by lawyers ...
[read more]

Modularized Digital Voice Recorder
Modularized Digital Voice Recorder

16 March 2018

Oulu Businesses on the move towards a Circular Economy
The Oulu region of Finland is not only home to project partner Grant4Com but also many other entrepreneurial companies in the business of sustainable materials, product refurbishment and recycling. Oulu University of Applied Sciences brought together local businesses and sustainablySMART partners on March 15, 2018, to explore R&D cooperation ...
[read more]

Project meeting in Oulu
Project meeting in Oulu