Value Recovery from Used Electronics, Phase 2
Section: Sustainable Electronics

Project Leaders

Carol Handwerker, Purdue

Bill Olson, Seagate

End-of-Project Webinar & Report


  • Validation of Ostrom’s Framework to Support a Circular Economy for Used Electronics — A Shared Vision, Carol Handwerker (Purdue University), William Olsen (ASM, formerly Seagate) and Mark Schaffer (iNEMI), 2019 MRS Spring Meeting (April 24; Phoenix, Arizona). 
  • Application of the Ostrom Framework to Support a Circular Economy for Used Electronics, presented by Carol Handwerker (Purdue University), Going Green - CARE Innovation 2018; November 26-29, 2019 (Vienna, Austria).
  • Validation of Ostrom's Principles to Support Circular Economy in Used Electronics; presented by Hongyue Jin (Purdue University & University of Arizona), International Symposium for Sustainable Systems and Technology 2018 (ISSST) (June 27, 2018; Buffalo, New York, USA)
  • Creating a Circular Economy for Hard Disk Drives - A Shared Vision, presented by Carol Handwerker (Purdue University), 22nd Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference (June 18, 2018; Portland, Oregon, USA)
  • Mid-Term Project Report Webinar (May 9, 2018).  There is increasing pressure worldwide for societal transformation from a linear economy – based on the traditional take-make-waste model – to a circular economy. The expanding worldwide demand for electronics – and specifically, for data storage – is increasing opportunity for the electronics industry, while also increasing resource consumption.  The most successful companies will modify their business practices consistent with circular economy principals.  To date, some individual companies in the electronics industry have taken this direction, but as a whole the industry has not undertaken the business-model-level initiatives that are key for a serious transition to a circular economy. This webinar discusses details of how Hard Drives can be a common pool resource and discusses the future work of the team as we undertake a demonstration project to test the practical application of HDD collection, process and, at a minimum, recovery of rare earth magnets.
  • Call for Participation Presentation (September 6, 2017).  This fast-turn project will focus on collaboration in hard disk drive design, reuse, remanufacturing, and materials and component recovery that enables a robust, sustainable circular supply economy for hard disk drives. Project leaders William Olson (Seagate) and Carol Handwerker (Purdue University) presented the scope of work and other information on this project.
  • A Vision for the Circular Economy in Hard Disk Drives Based on Self-Management of Common Pool Resources, presented by Haley Fu (iNEMI), Eco-Design 2017 (Tainan, Taiwan; November 29, 2017)  

Project Statement of Work and Project Statement

Purpose of Project

This fast-turn project project will focus on collaboration in hard disk drive design, reuse, remanufacturing, and materials and component recovery that enables a robust, sustainable circular supply economy for hard disk drives. As articulated clearly by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the creation of a circular economy for any product requires a multi-stakeholder approach. From the users’ viewpoint, to be effective, the rationales, pathways and incentives must be compelling enough to convince users to channel their products into the value recovery stream. For HDDs in particular, data security concerns (and the legal and corporate liabilities associated with the release of confidential and sensitive data) frequently lead HDD users in the US to shred their HDDs, even if they are fully functional. One of the goals of the project is to engage with HDD users and all those in the value recovery supply chain to assess users’ data security concerns and obligations and best practices required to avoid shredding.  The stakeholder groups identified in Phase 1 (users, manufacturers, service providers, and parts manufacturers, and for others critical to value recovery of HDD) must work together to analyze the capabilities of existing and new technologies and identify the gaps needed to “complete the circle.”  The purpose of this project will be to take the next steps in developing a circular economy for HDDs.

Previous Project

Phase 1

For Additional Information

Mark Schaffer