Circular economy enabled by additive manufacturing: potential opportunities and key sustainability aspects

Mariia Kravchenko*, Daniela C. A. Pigosso*, Tim C. McAloone*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

21 Downloads (Pure)


Additive manufacturing is arguably a cornerstone of the new digital manufacturing, Industry 4.0, which holds enormous opportunities to increase operational and customer effectiveness. Additive manufacturing is also seen as a powerful enabler of circular economy (CE), which aims at reducing resource consumption while boosting business opportunities. No waste production and reduced physical inventories are just few examples of how AM could positively contribute to CE goal. This paper aims at, firstly, exploring what CE strategies can be enabled by AM, and secondly, providing examples of key sustainability aspects to be considered in early design of AM-enabled CE strategies. Our findings show that AM has a great potential in supporting a variety of CE strategies, ranging from providing recycled materials, to original manufacturing, repair and remanufacturing activities, to recycling of materials at the end of life. Furthermore, AM could play a key role in helping businesses to transform their business models and design new products. Using a database of sustainability indicators, we provide examples of key sustainability aspects to consider when planning an AM-enabled CE strategy. Consideration of sustainability aspects is important in the planning and design stage, in order to understand and subsequently measure potential contribution to sustainability. With few examples we show that there are is a need to make a case by case analysis as there is no universally best AM-enabled technology sustainability wise.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of NordDesign 2020
EditorsN. H. Mortensen, C. T. Hansen, M. Deininger
Number of pages14
VolumeDS 101
PublisherDesign Society
Publication date2020
ISBN (Electronic)9781912254088
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventNordDesign 2020 - DTU-Technical University of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 12 Aug 202014 Aug 2020


ConferenceNordDesign 2020
LocationDTU-Technical University of Denmark
Internet address


  • Circular economy
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Sustainability aspects
  • Planning and design

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Circular economy enabled by additive manufacturing: potential opportunities and key sustainability aspects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this