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Circular economy research

Research about the circular economy of material devices, for the transition to a collaborative and circular consumption of electronics.
eReuse is about the reuse of electronics ensuring final recycling. We perform research on collaborative models for the traceability of digital devices across their lifespan, among the multiple stakeholders involved.
Distributed Ledger and Blockchain: We have defined in our research a new form of blockchain traceability, the concept and architecture. A distributed ledger allows to introduce of irreversible log entries (e.g. proofs of use, donation, reuse, repair, recycling), and inexorable actions under agreed conditions (smart contracts). Our Ledger prototype implementation uses a local Ethereum PoA blockchain and a set of Solidity smart contracts. We have also evaluated alternatives such as Hyperledger Fabric. The prototype software has been validated in a controlled mesh network environment. A video demo of the proof of concept implementation.
Our partners are:

Selected academic publications in the group about this topic: Property rights and servitisation with reused computers: [1], Experiment results and final report: [2], overview about the circular economy of digital devices: [3], experience with donors, social refurbishment enterprises and vulnerable population: [4], governance of community clouds and blockchain: [5], Analysis of circularity of electronic devices and metrics: [6], Sustainability of participatory digital commons: [7], [8], Model, basic tools and services (best paper award): [9], and more publications.

Data sets: The eReuse data sets.

Code: The eReuse code repository.

Software and services: Workbench, DeviceHub, App, etc

Documents and Specifications:

Leandro Navarro is co-rapporteur of ITU-T Q7/5, the UN body in charge of ICT. Contribution to standards:

  • Recommendation L.1024: The potential impact of selling services instead of equipment on waste creation and the environment.
  • Recommendation L.1033: Guidance for institutions of higher learning to contribute in the effective life cycle management of e-equipment and e-waste.

Working on several new recommendations/standards for ITU on issues related to the ICT circular economy. Editor of the ITU-T work items:

As part of this activity, participation in the "High-level dialogue on sustainable e-waste management and the circular economy in Latin America". Slides introducing our work on the digital transformation of the circular economy at UPC and in ITU-T.

Contribution to APC book: A guide to the circular economy of digital devices.

Our projects (most recent first):

Project deliverables:

The Global Record of Devices, the Device Schema and corresponding JSON device description.

Video: of the current prototype with blockchain integration (click image to play)


  1. M. Roura, Navarro, L., and Meseguer, R., Property Rights in Servitisation: A Practical Assessment with Reused Computers, in Advances and New Trends in Environmental Informatics, Hamburg, 2023.
  2. L. Navarro, Cano, J., Manco, A., Franquesa, D., Vílchez, P., Freitag, F., Sukhia, R., and Lembke, R. S., Decentralized data ecosystem for the Open Blockchain for Asset Disposition Alliance Deliverable 3: Experiment Results and Final Report, UPC, Barcelona, 2021.
  3. L. Navarro, Roura, M., Franquesa, D., and Meseguer, R., eReuse poster: the circular economy of digital devices, in Proceedings of the 2021 ACM SIGCAS Conference on Computing and Sustainable Societies, New York, NY, USA, 2021.
  4. M. Roura, Franquesa, D., Navarro, L., and Meseguer, R., Circular digital devices: lessons about the social and planetary boundaries, in Workshop on Computing within Limits, New York, 2021.
  5. F. Freitag, On the Collaborative Governance of Decentralized Edge Microclouds with Blockchain-Based Distributed Ledgers, in 1st International Workshop on Blockchain Technology for Multi-Agent Systems (BCT4MAS), in 2018 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence (WI), 2018.
  6. D. Franquesa, Navarro, L., Fortelny, S., Roura, M., and Nadeu, J., Circular consumption and production of electronic devices: an approach to measuring durability, upgradeability, reusability, obsolescence and premature recycling, in The European Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production - Circular Europe for Sustainability, Barcelona, 2019.
  7. D. Franquesa and Navarro, L., Sustainability and Participation in the Digital Commons, Interactions, vol. 24, pp. 66–69, 2017.
  8. D. Franquesa and Navarro, L., Devices as a Commons: Limits to Premature Recycling, in Proceedings of the 2018 Workshop on Computing within Limits, New York, NY, USA, 2018.
  9. D. Franquesa, Navarro, L., López, D., Bustamante, X., and Lamora, S., Breaking Barriers on Reuse of Digital Devices Ensuring Final Recycling, 2015.