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A circular economy approach for lifecycles of products and services

Updated on 12.04.2023

The CIRC4LIFE project aims to develop and implement a circular economy (CE) approach for sustainable products and services through their value and supply chains. Three new CE business models will be developed including (i) co-creation of products and services, (ii) sustainable consumption, and (iii) collaborative recycling and reuse.

Acronym: CIRC4Life
Countries: Belgium, Finland, Germany, Greece, Poland, Spain, United Kingdom
Start and end date: 01.05.2018 - 31.10.2022
Budget: 7 228 774 EUR
Funding source: Horizon 2020

More information

The co-creation of products/services model will bring end-users closer to the design and manufacturing phases by identifying consumer preferences via big-data online mining product reviews and evaluating product specifications and prototypes via a living lab to customise the end-user requirements. Benefited from the co-creation features, sets of sustainable production methods will be implemented and new products/services will be created. The project will involve the following territories: Getxo (Spain); Lorca and Abarán (Region of Murcia, Spain); and St. Martin’s (Isles of Scilly, UK).

The sustainable consumption model will develop a method to calculate the eco-points of products based on the outcome of FP7 myEcoCost project, assess product environment footprints, provide a traceability solution to monitor product’s sustainability along the value chain, and support end-users and stakeholders to actively implement the CE via awareness raising and knowledge sharing activities.

The collaborative recycling/reuse model will develop a system for stakeholders to interact with each other to facilitate the use/reuse of end-of-life products and reduce waste, and implement the eco-credits awarding scheme to encourage people to recycle/reuse.

An information and communication technology platform will be developed to support the development, implementation, demonstration, communication and dissemination.

Relevance for Circular Systemic Solutions

Three different circular business models were developed and demonstrated in theCIRC4Life project:

  • co-creation of products and services
  • sustainable consumption
  • collaborative recycling and reuse

The learnings from the implementation of the collaborative recycling/reuse model might be particularly interesting for cities and regions as it focused on developing a system for stakeholders to interact with each other to facilitate the use/reuse of end-of-life products and reduce waste. The eco-credits awarding scheme was developed to encourage citizens to recycle/reuse. Overall, the project was demonstrated at a large scale in electrical and electronic products and farming/agri-foods sectors. It involved a large number of stakeholders along the value and supply chains throughout the project lifetime, including end-users, producers, researchers and civil society. The project can provide tools for cities and regions to incentivise citizens' sorting and recycling efforts as well as improve the overall quality of waste collection and sorting and reduce waste production.

Main results and lessons learnt

The project produced a number of relevant and useful outputs (based on pilot use cases), including:

  • Report of sustainable design and manufacturing methods (considering lighting product development, practices for organic vegetable farms and meat product supply chain; eco-procurement in the industrial LED lighting sector, development of leasing service for industrial LED lighting products)
  • Report on development of reusing/recycling system for electronic products (considering the development and implementation of the logistic systems)
  • Report on pathways for the reuse and recycle food waste (considering the activities developed in the vegetables and meat sectors and packaging in the food industry)
  • Report on incentive schemes for collaborative reuse/recycling of products (considering the analysis of different existing approaches – systems of rewards, promotions through other agents, penalty systems)
  • Report on the eco-credits method (while the method can be applied to all kinds of products, the focus of the report is on the application in waste electrical and electronic equipment and organic urban wastes and food products, as the key focus areas of the project).

Horizon programme(s) and/or topic(s)


  • H2020-EU.3.5. - SOCIETAL CHALLENGES - Climate action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials


  • CIRC-01-2016-2017 - Systemic, eco-innovative approaches for the circular economy: large-scale demonstration projects


€ 7 228 773.75 (EU controbution: € 6 294 033.39)

Responsible organisation and contact details

Nottingham Trent University

Project consortium partners

  • Bjorling Sten
  • Jonathan Michael Smith
  • Kosnic Lighting Limited
  • Fundacion Circe Centro de Investigacion de Recursos y Consumos Energeticos
  • European EPC Competence Center GmbH
  • Instytut Ekologii Terenow Uprzemyslowionych
  • Rise IVF AB
  • Make Mothers Matter EU Delegation
  • Ona Product Sl
  • Indumetal Recycling SA
  • GS1 Germany GmbH
  • Laurea-Ammattikorkeakoulu OY
  • Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Erevnitiko Panepistiliako Institouto Systimation Epikoinonias Kai Ypologiston-Emp
  • Sig De Raee y Pilas Sociedad Limitada
  • Sociedad Agraria de Transformacion 2439

CEAP2 key product value chain

CEAP2 key product value chain

CEAP2 key product value chain

CEAP2 key product value chain

e.g. electrical engineering, furniture and interior, textile and fashion

e.g. B2B services

e.g. healthcare

including bio-based economy

Territories involved

large 500 000-200 000, medium 200 000-50 000, and small cities 50 000-5 000

large metropolitan area >1.5 million, metropolitan area 1.5 million-500 000

predominantly urban regions, intermediate and predominantly rural regions, refer to TERCET typology NUTS 3 region

Intra-territorial areas

e.g. commercial, residential, service, industrial