Let It Go: Designing the Divestment of Mobile Phones in a Circular Economy from a User Perspective

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

12 Downloads (Pure)


In a circular economy, the collection of devices is essential to enable reuse, refurbishment, remanufacturing and/or recycling at a system level. Yet, even though collection programmes are in place, users often store their mobile phones after use. This dissertation provides a better understanding of closing the loop from a user perspective in both access-based consumption and ownership-based consumption. It studies how to potentially enhance collection rates. The research first results in a conceptual model conceptualizing the user behaviour regarding the return of mobile phones in these two consumption modes. As the return of phones is contractual in access-based consumption, influencing factors and design interventions were identified to improve the user acceptance and support practitioners in the development of access services. To increase the collection rates in ownership-based consumption (i.e., where the return is voluntary), the lack of attention for the last phase of the consumption cycle – called divestment – is addressed. This dissertation explores the new research field of design for divestment. It defines the concept of divestment in design, structures this phase in six stages, offers design insights on smartphone divestment experiences, and proposes design for divestment principles.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Bakker, C.A., Supervisor
  • van Engelen, J.M.L., Supervisor
Award date8 Oct 2020
Print ISBNs978-94-6384-159-7
Publication statusPublished - 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Let It Go: Designing the Divestment of Mobile Phones in a Circular Economy from a User Perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this