Consuming less and recovering more, EPFL is committed to circularity
Transition to a circular model involves not only recycling, but also a more efficient and sober use of resources, by acting on production and consumption patterns, extending the lifespan of goods, and promoting reuse and re-employment.
What is circularity?
The aim of circular economy is to minimize the use of materials and energy to manufacture goods and services. Designing a “circular” product means ensuring that the various components can remain in the cycle. At the same time, it means optimizing product lifetimes and avoiding waste as far as possible. If waste is generated, it is – by means of collection, separation, treatment and material or thermal recovery – transformed into high-quality secondary raw materials and reused/recycled.
Source: Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)
Circular economy reintroduces materials and products into the circuit via the stages of design and production, distribution, consumption and use. At end-of-life, they are collected for recycling or processing.
The figure above shows the additional stages that extend the life of products, increase the intensity of their use and therefore slow down the cycle. In other words, products, energy and materials remain in circulation. The circular economy therefore requires fewer raw materials and enables products to retain their value for longer, while generating less waste.
EPFL initiatives that incorporate the principles of circular economy
- Carpooling and car-sharing: As part of its Mobility Plan, EPFL provides its community with various car-sharing services.
- Thirteen PubliBike self-service bike stations are located on the UNIL-EPFL campus.
- The Donkey Republic self-service bicycle network is available in a number of locations in Switzerland, including Neuchâtel (Microcity) and Geneva (Campus Biotech).
- Velospot replaces PubliBike in central Valais.
- The EPFL community can borrow Switzerland’s first self-service electric cargobikes free of charge for 12 hours.
Sustainable Purchasing Charter: The EPFL Sustainable Purchasing Charter is intended to serve as a frame of reference for our community and partners.
Poséidon: An EPFL service dedicated to purchasing advice and support for private laptops.
SV Laboratory best practice guide: Reducing the footprint of laboratory research through simple habits.
- Point Vélo: At the workshop, we sell around 800 second-hand bicycles a year, collected on campus and from our partners (e.g. local authorities, municipal waste disposal sites). We recover spare parts and reuse most of them on old bicycles, in order to limit the purchase and sale of new parts and thus limit costs for our customers.
- Point Smart: Smartphone repair service at cost price, offered on Lausanne campus every day between noon and 2 pm, on the Poséidon premises.
- Fix N’replace: Repair café at SPOT every first Thursday of the month to repair damaged and broken objects rather than throwing them away.
- SV Workshop: Takeover of laboratory equipment with breakdowns or malfunctions.
- SESAME equipment exchange platform: Scientific equipment available.