Energy using appliances

What is it?  The Framework Modular Laptop is a laptop designed with a focus on repairability, upgradability, and sustainability. It allows users to easily repair, swap out and/or upgrade various components, reducing electronic waste and extending the device's lifespan (Framework, 2024a). The laptop is designed to last longer than conventional laptops and many components, such as the motherboard, can be reused in a number of other applications. The laptops also incorporate recycled materials as far as possible (Framework, 2024a).

Why is this important? Roughly 60 million tonnes of electronic waste (e-waste) is produced globally each year. It is the world's fastest growing solid waste stream, projected to reach 80 million tonnes per year by 2030 (Bladé et al., 2024). Apart from plastics, e-waste contains heavy metals, as well as rare and precious metals. While there are some solutions for e-waste recycling, less than a third of global e-waste is properly disposed of, resulting in the release of hazardous compounds into the environment, especially since some e-waste is burned in order to access the precious metals contained therein (Bladé et al., 2024; ILO, 2014). Research has shown that while laptops often have a potential life span of around 7 years, most laptops are discarded well before their end-of-life, be it due to becoming outdated, defective or incompatible (Woidasky & Cetinkaya, 2021). Thus, the concept of an upgradable, easily repairable laptop could be the perfect solution to extend the life of laptops and reduce waste. Framework is looking to increase the longevity of laptops, thereby supporting the right-to-repair movement, offering cost-effective solutions by extending the laptop's lifespan, and encouraging an open ecosystem for third-party development, fostering innovation and customizability (Patel, 2023).

Main resource strategy: Slowing the loop by increasing the life-span of laptops through modularity, reuse and repair, and reducing the raw material consumption of laptops. 

Closing the loop by using recycled materials, and having take-back schemes for refurbishing and reselling discarded units (Patel, 2023)

Business model aspects:

  1. Value Proposition: Framework offers a modular, customizable, and repairable laptop, appealing to environmentally conscious consumers and tech enthusiasts who value longevity and flexibility in their devices, reducing resource use in the process.
  2. Value Creation & Delivery: Framework creates value by designing modular laptops that are easy to upgrade and repair. They deliver this value through an open ecosystem that supports third-party components and user-friendly repair processes, providing detailed guides and offering a wide range of interchangeable parts. They often also use recycled materials in both the laptop and the modules, reducing their reliance on virgin materials. They also sell refurbished and reused framework laptops.
  3. Value Capture: Framework has created two laptops, a 13 and a 16 inch. They are selling modules and repair kits through their website. The laptops are designed to be light and thin, in line with contemporary design traditions. They capture value by selling laptops and individual components directly to consumers, generating revenue through both initial sales and ongoing purchases of upgrades and replacement parts. This model fosters customer loyalty and repeat business as users maintain and enhance their devices over time.


Business model experimentation practices: Framework conducts several business model experimentation practices, including fostering an open marketplace by encouraging third-party module development (Patel, 2023), and exploring subscription models for upgrades and maintenance (Framework, 2024b). They engage the user community in the development process for iterative improvement (Carman, 2024), implement sustainability initiatives like buyback programs to promote a circular economy, and form partnerships to expand the range of available modules and enhance functionality (Patel, 2023). For example, Framework first tested out their products with tech enthusiasts who tend to be early adopters, more open to product testing and improvement, and are now expanding towards wider audiences, developing the product through quick iteration rounds (Carman, 2024).  These strategies help Framework adapt to market demands, drive innovation, and build a loyal customer base aligned with their values and needs. In the fall of 2022 Framework started a refurbishment program, through which older Framework laptops are refurbished and sold again (Buyck, 2022).  

Support for upgrade, repair, reuse and recycling: The company makes specifications for modules available to users to increase the repairability of modules. Every Framework laptop comes with a screwdriver, which they claim is the only tool necessary to make repairs (Framework, 2024c). They produce step-by-step guides to enable users to perform repairs/upgrades on their own and make schematics available to repair shops in case replacement of a module is insufficient to restore the computer to a working condition. To enable recycling they provide information and support to enable responsible waste management by consumers (Framework, 2024c). They have also introduced a mainboard that can be reused in a number of ways, independent of the laptop and they provide specifications to allow users to 3D-print a case to hold the mainboard (Patel, 2023).

Sustainability outcomes: Framework commissioned a life cycle analysis to better understand the environmental impact of their products (Baur et al., 2023). Framework’s LCA shows that the production phase is responsible for the largest part of the total environmental impact. However, the scope of the LCA is limited and cannot support general statements about the impact of the Framework laptop, or be used to compare its impact relative to other laptops (Baur et al., 2023). They acknowledge this on their website by saying “We are not sustainable. And neither is any other device maker. This industry is full of “feel good” messaging, but generates 50 million metric tons of e-waste each year. (...) Instead of operating on feels, we operate on data and actions.” (Framework, 2024c).


Baldé C.P, Kuehr R., Yamamoto, T., McDonald, R., DÁngelo, E., Althaf, S., Bel, G., Deubzer, O., Fernandez-Cubillo, E., Forti, V., Gray, V., Herat, S., Honda, S., Iattoni, G., Khetriwal, D. S., di Cortemiglia, V. L., Lobuntsova, Y., Nnorom, I., Pralat, N., & Wagner, M. (2024). The global E-waste Monitor 2024 – Electronic Waste Rising Five Times Faster than Documented E-waste Recycling: UN.  International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Geneva/Bonn.

Baur, S.-J., Proske, M., Poppe, E. (2023). Life Cycle Assessment of the Framework Laptop 2022. LCA Report (ISO 14044 and ISO 14067). Berlin: Fraunhofer IZM.

Buyck, M. (2022). Framework - Closing the loop with Refurbished Framework products. Accessed 12 June 2024 at:

Carman, J., (2024). A New Vision for Consumer Hardware | Framework. Accessed 12 June 2024 at:

Framework. (2023). Where can I recycle Framework products? Accessed 12 June 2024 at:

Framework. (2024a). About. Accessed 12 June 2024 at:

Framework. (2024b). Framework for business. Accessed 12 June 2024 at:

Framework. (2024c) Sustainability. Accessed 12 June 2024 at:

International Labour Organisation (ILO). (2014). The informal economy of e-waste: The potential of cooperative enterprises in the management of e-waste. International Labour Office, Sectoral Activities Department (SECTOR), Cooperatives Unit (COOP) – Geneva: ILO, 2014

Patel., N. (2023). Framework - Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle. Accessed 12 June 2024 at:

Woidasky, J., & Cetinkaya, E. (2021). Use pattern relevance for laptop repair and product lifetime. Journal of Cleaner Production, 288, 125425.



About project Circular X

Project Circular X is about ‘Experimentation with Circular Service Business Models’. It is an ambitious research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) which supports top researchers from anywhere in the world. Project CIRCULAR X runs from 2020-2025.  The project is led by Principal Investigator (PI) Prof Dr Nancy Bocken, who is joined by a multidisciplinary team of researchers at Maastricht Sustainability Institute (MSI), Maastricht School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University. The project cooperates with businesses who want to innovate towards the circular economy.

Project Circular X addresses a new and urgent issue: experimentation with circular service business models (CSBMs). Examples of such new business models include companies shifting from selling products to selling services and introducing lifelong warrantees to extend product lifetimes. However, CSBMs are far from mainstream and research focused on experimentation is little understood.  The research aims to conduct interdisciplinary research with 4 objectives:

  1. Advancing understanding of CSBMs; their emergence and impacts
  2. Advancing knowledge on CSBM experimentation
  3. Developing CSBM experimentation tools
  4. Designing and deploying CSBM experimentation labs
Funding source

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, grant agreement No. 850159. 

Using this information

When you refer to this case, please use the following source:

Circular X. (2024) Case study: Framework – Modular laptops. Accessed from