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Rethink logistics for take-back systems

Key aspects of sustainable consumption and production are the reuse or repurposing of old products and materials to contribute to a circular economy. Together with BSH you will develop novel approaches to “sustainabilize” their reverse logistics program across Europe, which will help to collectively drive a more sustainable economy.

To support you in your idea and team generation process, you have the opportunity to participate in one of our digital Design Thinking Workshop - register here or find more information here.


  • ✅ Challenge completed
  • 🏁 Winner
    Congrats to Team Mission BSH!
  • 🏆  Rewards
    20,000 € prize pool prize pool in the Innovate2030 project + joint publication with all stakeholders + chance for further cooperation with BSH Home Appliances
Important details
About BSH
Design Thinking

This use case is part of the Innovate2030 Challenge

Status Quo

Our consumerism generates massive amounts of waste every day, which is sustained and accelerated by the growth of the e-commerce sector. 99% of purchased products are thrown out within 6 months, amounting to 2.12 billion tons of waste annually.

One key challenge in developing circular economy approaches is how to get used products back from the consumer in order to refurbish or recycle them.
Still only 1/3 of electronic waste is properly collected. The rest remains unaccounted for. This is problematic because the likelihood for manufacturers to get a hold of their own appliances is very limited. Further, when appliances are collected, they often end up in collective or other schemes, mixed up with appliances of other brands. Thus, currently a focus on design for recycling (e.g., improved dismantling solutions, increased material quality, reduction of the number of different materials used etc.) is not very attractive or incentivized.

Reverse logistics bears an enormous potential in enabling circular economy approaches in the e-commerce sector.
If efficiently implemented it would allow lifetime extension through refurbishment practices, the reuse of still functioning components of appliances, and dedicated recycling in order to close material loops.


Key question

To use this potentials the need to develop novel and smart „reverse logistics“ solutions is increasing.

BSH has already identified several ways in which a mix of appliances and brands could be retrieved back, however, in very limited quantities, e.g., collective takeback schemes, own takeback system (Germany), a reverse logistics program (Belgium). BSH further has product as a service business models in place which will allow to retrieve their own appliances from the consumer.

Nevertheless, these models only represent a minor share of their overall turnover. The same is true for collections of appliances through their customer service (i.e., exchange procedure during the warranty period or product replacement in case of excessive repair costs). Taken together this leads to an insufficient collection rate of appliances and limited return rates of BSH appliances to BSH.

Therefore, the key questions for this Use Case is the following:

  • How can we retrieve household appliances from the end-consumer to BSH in a sustainable and cost-effective way?
  • What circular economy approaches, and business models can be developed to establish a more sustainable reverse logistics supply chain?

Possible solutions can be diverse - think about all the steps of reverse logistics at BSH and come up with ideas for specific problems or new overall concepts bearing the guiding questions in mind.

Potential Impact

Reduction of CO2 footprint through:

  • reducing the production of new appliances
  • the use of secondary raw materials with an increased quality (i.e., avoids the extraction and processing of primary raw materials)
  • reducing the production of new spare parts

Contribution to increased company circularity through closing of material loops by using secondary raw materials.

More information, especially about other important stakeholders involved and BSH’s current efforts can be found on the tab “important details"

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