There is also a significant difference between the bicycle lamps and their performance. For the little 2W bicycle lamps (cheaper than 5 EUR) the view is mostly like this:
For high performance battery based bicycle lamps of 4W (between 5-15 EUR and work on batteries) give a better view:
And the high end bicycle lamps of 45 W, often working on induction or are attached to the battery of electricical bicycle give the best view:
In the clustering this performance difference has been taken into account. During the project I will only focus on the low segment bicycle lamps.
When (a part of) the product does not function anymore, it lost all its value making the user disposing it. This could have been a result of the following: an empty battery or rain entering the product making the connection between the battery and the LED not functioning anymore. Often, disposing means being incinerated in the Netherlands – losing almost all value added to the product during production.
The user is not activated (yet) to repair because of the low price of the lamp, making it easier to buy a new one instead of repairing the “old” one. The bicycle lamps are not made for repair, making the user less confident to take responsibility for the lifespan of the product. In my redesign of this product I can go in two direction: (1) accepting the disposing behaviour of the consumer, making the product suitable for flows between company and consumer. (2) enabling and motivating the user for repairing of the product.
Redesigning a low segment bicycle lamp: making a fast moving consumable circular
Hi, I am Emma Fromberg and a masterstudent Strategic Product Design at Delft University of Technology. In this series of blogs I will walk you through my process of redesigning a bicycle lamp to make it meet the principles of a circular economy. The main guide throughout this process will be the book “Products that Last” that offers a framework to do so.
The product that I am going to redesign is a low segment (or you could say “cheap”) bicycle lamp. These cost 3.90 euro per set of two in the store and often does not last very long. The biggest challenge is creating a circular system for a product that does not have a lot of value for both the user and the company.
In this LCA I will look more closely to the impact of the bicycle light in total. I will express this in CED [MJ]. This will help me to compare the redesign with the original design.
It was not fully possible to tear the entire product apart. To create a good overview, the PCB and the LED stayed attached and the elastic band was not separated from the metal ring and closing clip and the rubber band.
To look more at the system as a whole and not company specific, I look took the raw materials, use and end-of-life into account during the LCA.
I expect the user to buy new bicycle lamps on average every 4 months. During these 4 months the user rides its bicycle in the dark four times every week. These are 64 rides. The functional unit is the CED per ride.
The LED and PCB are responsible for the most CED. The total CED of the materials phase is around 4.20 MJ.
Within the current design, we expect the user to dispose the bicycle lamp as soon as the battery dies. There will not be any maintenance during the lifespan of the bicycle lamp and therefore there is no impact.
In this linear scenario we assume that the product will be incinerated after the lifespan. Within this process electricity is generated and energy is won back through this process.
Total CED: 4.060123629 MJ for the entire lifespan of the product
Expected is that the user makes 64 rides using the bicycle lamp which leaves us with 0.063439431703125 MJ per ride.
The front lamp is often attached to the steering wheel:
Where the back lamp is harder to place since the elastic band does not enable the user to attach it to a smaller beam:
It is not possible to attach this lamp to my bicycle without leaving it hanging down.
After the use of the bicycle lamp, the user will detach the product from the bicycle and carry it with them.
Or in a bag for example… with the risk that the lamps will be turned on without the user knowing it.