Local Circles in a Circular Economy – the Case of Smartphone Repair in Denmark
Circular economy has gained increasing attention the last decade, and more often the main focus is on the large global circles addressing recycling of materials rather than the “inner circles” that address maintenance/repair and reuse. In this article we investigate one such inner circle ofthe circular economy namely repair of smartphones which extends the lifetime of products and adds to a local economy. Local repair of smartphones has increased in the resent years in Denmark. These loop-closing businesses not only extend the useful lifetime of smartphones; they also entail both environmental benefits and economic value creation. We map the extent ofthe repair sector and investigate the drivers and barriers for its emergence. The study builds on desk studies for identification of repair companiesand telephone interviews with 33 out of 90 identified companies. The mapping of the businessesshows that the repair of smartphones constitute viable business opportunities, and that the main driversarerelated to the economic business potentials as well as motivated entrepreneurs who spot a market potential.The study concludes that the local circular economy within smartphone repair is due to large consumer willingness-to-pay for repair and maintenance services, and this can extend the lifetime of the smartphones. There are some special characteristics that limit the possibility to apply the results directly to other product groups, but further analysis of how to facilitate repair shops within other product groups are interesting in order to facilitate the development of local circles in a circular economy not only in Denmark but also in other countries.
Keywords: Circular economy; Smartphone;Repair; Remanufacturing.