This paper surveys end-of-life strategies currently used in the electronics and appliances industries and identifies product characteristics to guide designers to specify appropriate strategies. The survey indicates that characteristics such as wear-out life, design cycle, technology cycle, functional complexity, number of materials, number of parts and others are important in determining the end-of-life strategy. Two characteristics, product life and technology cycle, serve to demonstrate a possible categorization of products’ end-of-life path. The categorization leads to developing a methodology that guides product developers. By expanding the methodology to include all characteristics, designers will be able to specify end-of-life strategies, to seek environmentally friendly designs, and to develop new recycling technologies. This paper concludes with a proposed web-based application for identifying suitable product end-of-life strategies early in the design cycle of a broad range of products based on key product characteristics.

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