New conference paper: Requirements for the Digital Product Passport (DPP) to promote the circular economy

Collecting requirements for the DPP from different perspectives to make it broadly applicable


Potential users of the Digital Product Passport (DPP) (Plociennik 2022)

Currently, only about 16% of the raw materials required by the German economy are covered by secondary raw materials. Among other things, this is due to a lack of or insufficient exchange of information between the players in the different life phases of a product. Thus, on the part of the waste management industry, it is extremely difficult to obtain predictions about the quantities and qualities of the material flows to be expected. Due to the central task of the waste management industry to ensure hygiene and environmental protection, recycled materials and secondary raw materials may be subject to higher requirements than primary raw materials, for example with regard to the testing of ingredients and proof of origin. These information gaps and uncertainties can contribute to the high unused recycling potential in Germany.

The so-called Digital Product Passport (DPP) is a concept for collecting and sharing product-related information along the life cycle of a product. The aim is to provide all stakeholders during the product lifecycle with the information they need to implement a successful circular economy. Currently, different types of DPPs are being developed, most of them sector-specific. To date, however, there is no common standard for what a DPP should look like, e.g., what information is needed to enable the closure of material loops and what practical application this information can have. The publication “Requirements for a Digital Product Passport to Boost the Circular Economy” by the RecircE project consortium is intended to provide an initial approach to this. It was published in the digital library (GI Digital Library, GI-DL) of the Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI) under the listing P326 and on ResearchGate. Here, the various requirements are considered from different angles with the goal of broad application.

The project RecircE – “Digital Lifecycle Record for the Circular Economy – Transparent Design of Material Cycles and Optimization of Waste Sorting with the Help of Artificial Intelligence”, funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), investigates how natural resources can be saved and material cycles closed with the help of the digital product passport. To this end, the project includes both conceptual and IT-based user-oriented solutions, including:

  • the development of a cloud-based DPP to improve the sharing of product information throughout a product's lifecycle; and
  • the use of DPP information for sorting to identify more ecologically sustainable sorting processes e.g. comparison of sorting processes.