The Role of Barriers and Drivers in a Circular Economy for Urban Manufacturing

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Consumers and Customers

Consumer Behaviour: Consumers and customers lack knowledge and Acceptance.Relevance and Importance: Lack of knowledge for Customers regarding circular economy, Customer Recognition and Consumer Acceptance of circular products, makes it very difficult for the manufacturers to change their traditional ways of producing products and services to the customers and consumers in fear of losing them and revenue.

Economic Opportunities: Creation of new opportunities for Sales and Profits.Investments: Lack of Capital and Investment.Relevance and Importance: Failing to create sales and profits for circular products and services which restricts manufactures to adapt the circular economy and also lack of capital and investment for circular processes and practices will result in delay or abolition of plans for CE.

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GLOBAL Sustainability Challenges: Sustainable ActivitiesGlobal Growth: Population and Economic GrowthOutsourcing/Offshoring: Outsourcing and Offshoring manufacturing activities.Political: Growing population and their needs and demandsNegative Externalities: Externalities which hinders the CE ProgressRelevance and Importance: In a race to be competitive and gain more profits, manufacturers opt for outsourcing or offshoring. To capitalize the needs and demands of the growing population manufacturers avoid CE which takes time to fully establish resulted from a negative externality without actually researching enough.

Governmental Activities

Incentives, Subsidies and Tax: Insufficient Incentives, Subsidies and Tax reforms to promote CEPolicies, Laws, Regulations and Legislations: Lack of Policies, Standards, Regulations and Legislations.Government Actions: Government support for CE practicesCertification: No or Lack certification for CERelevance and Importance: Adapting and Implementing CE readily from traditional results in financial burden. Lack of sufficient incentives, subsidies and tax reforms discourages manufacturers. Presence of policies, laws, regulations and legislations force the reluctant manufacturers towards CE and also certification for CE, government support in transition encourages the realization of CE for manufacturers.


Social Aspects: Factors like Social dimension, cultural acceptance and skills.Relevance and Importance: Cultural and social perception on circular products and services such as secondary products and sharing inhibits customers and consumers which in turn affect the manufacturers decision towards CE.

Other Stakeholders

Other Actors: Stakeholders other than manufacturers like Higher Educational Institutions, Social Media.Relevance and Importance: Higher Educational institutes role in teaching and developing required inputs for CE and Social media presence in promoting CE are at most importance in today world.


Efficiency: Resource Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Eco-Efficiency, Materials Efficiency.Quality/Price: Quality and Price of Primary and Secondary resources.Relevance and Importance: Some of the CE practices are not efficient enough in comparison to traditional practices which is not at all good and resulting secondary raw materials, products are not up to the quality expected for the price being asked is also major barrier for CE.


Advanced Manufacturing Technologies: Manufacturing technologies like 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing, Go-Green Manufacturing, Distributed Manufacturing.Relevance and Importance: Expensive nature and scarcity of advanced manufacturing technologies considered biggest challenges for CE.

Meso Level Barriers

Secondary Market: Market for recovered and restored resourcesCompany Thinking: Company thinking related to strategy, Expertise, Infrastructure and investments.Price and Quality: Price and quality of secondary raw materials recovered and restored by EOL practices.Relevance and Importance: No available markets for restored and recovered resources resulted from EOL operations and no standard price for secondary resources makes it difficult for manufacturers to gain significant revenue. Lack of strategies, expertise and infrastructure for CE market like existing traditional creates uncertainty.

Supply Chain Complexity: Supply chains which possess risk, challenges.Relevance and Importance: Lack of understanding and results of how supply chains behave when adapting to CE possess risks and challenges which are not welcomed by many manufacturers.

Business Models

Business Models: Lack of Business Models which create, propose, capture and deliver the value of the products using less resources and extending the life cycles.Relevance and Importance: Lack of Business Models where products and services are maintained, repaired and adjusted, to the long cycle which extends the lifetime of existing products and processes, to cascades based on creating new combinations of resources and material components and purchasing upcycled waste streams, to pure circles in which resources and materials are 100% reused, to dematerialized services offered instead of physical products and to production on demand.

Practises: Lack of encouragement for CE practices which contribute to the less resources use and more to the sustainable consumption and recovery like Dematerialization, Diversification, Cleaner Production, Upgrading, maintenance and 3R Principle.

Recycling: Need of advanced and less cost recycling process which Collect, sort and process disposed materials for use in other manufacturing processes. There are two types of recycling: mechanical (the process of breaking down collected materials into smaller pieces through shearing or other physical means) and chemical (the process of breaking down collected materials into monomers and other basic chemical elements). The recycling process is different for each material and location. Some materials require additionalSorting: Difficulty, time and energy consuming sorting of useful resources in EOL practices. Relevance and Importance: Obvious need of advanced recycling and sorting technologies and process to simplify the EOL operations and reduce the consumption of resources, time and cost. ICTData: Lack of Smart Information management systems that collects, analyses and delivers the precise data which encourages the CE and decision-making process.

Ce Product Level Barriers

Product Design: Designing products to use less materials during production, enabling maintenance, repair and upgradability to extend the life cycle and EOL operations to recover and restore the resources.Design for EOL: Designing products to be upgraded, repaired, refurbished, and remanufactured to counter obsolescence and degradation.Relevance and Importance: Availability of best designing techniques that satisfy the needs of CE takes time and practice. The tools and designers are not readily available like CE counterparts makes it challenging.


Indicators: Results of circularity for further analysis and decision-making process.Methods for Measuring: It is very important for companies to have a methodology and tools to assess how well their products perform in the context of a circular economy, allowing them to estimate how advanced they are on their journey from linear to circular.


Product Realization: Lack of decisive elements such as Product Functionalities, Aesthetics, Modularity which are compared with traditional products are also a barrier because designing for CE does not always include these elements.


The objective of this research is to do an analysis of circular economy drivers and barriers using a systematic review methodology at different levels of manufacturing sector. The outcome of this research is analysis of drivers and barriers at Macro, Meso, Micro and Product level. The research also provided classification of drivers and barriers into further groups which influence the pre-defined levels and gives a very clear picture regarding the adaptation and implementation of circular economy in real world of manufacturing. For example, Business models, governmental activities, Product Design and Metric are further classified groups in circularity levels. These results indicate that, the efforts and contributions of governments, stakeholders and advance technologies etc pacing the adaptation of the circular economy for various reasons and benefits. I

ts also encouraging that the customers and consumers are involved in this paradigm and their priorities forcing the adaptation of the circular economy, either to gain reputation or competitive advantage the manufacturers are responding. But it is also evident that these are the same barriers that are also creating an ambiguous scenario for manufacturers to take decisions on circular economy. The overall results suggest that shift from linear economy to circular economy in manufacturing sector is well understood and they are taking crucial steps to adapt the circular economy for their own benefits or to be in resonance with the situation.Future research should include the case studies, interviews and questionnaires to confirm these drivers and barriers applicability by manufacturers. And it should also include works of other independent organizations, governments, books, and research outside of the academic institutions.

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