July 16, 2015

Developing a Business Case for Circular Lighting

Project overview

A business case for the collection and refurbishment of LED bulbs


Title: Developing a Business Case for Circular Lighting

Client: Philips

Partners: Circle Economy

Date delivered: December, 2013



Project leader

Project Description

Consumer products today are not well designed for high value recycling, and the vast majority of these products end up either being landfilled or incinerated. As many modern products are becoming increasingly complex in their designs and components, it is only becoming more difficult to extract value from traditional recycling efforts.

Philips is busy with its Pay per Lux program whereby lighting solutions are sold as a service. This is an innovative way of maintaining ownership and securing stocks of used components and materials. Together with Philips, we worked to map out the challenges and opportunities in collecting and harvesting value from post-consumer products, eventually building a business case for refurbishing and component harvesting.



Mapping the Life Cycle of a Lightbulb:

Together with Philips, we mapped the material life cycles of different lighting technologies, and evaluated the approximate value in the components and materials at the end-of-life. For each lighting technology, we highlighted the main challenges and opportunities in implementing and operating a recovery and refurbishment program.

Making a Business Case:

Through several interviews and workshops with Philips designers, sales, and technical specialists, we were able to develop a business case for refurbishment and component harvesting. In order to better understand the main variables in making or breaking a business case, we constructed a tool that could model different.


We evaluated the potential business case for refurbishing and component harvesting of different lighting technologies and constructed a tool to model actual variables contributing to the business case.