Electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) should be the next big focus in EU efforts to establish a circular economy, according to a new report by the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Some 80% of the pollution and 90% of the manufacturing costs associated with EEE are the result of decisions made at the product design stage, the report says, calling for new circular design principles to be put in place.
Using recycled plastic in an electrical or electronic product could reduce its environmental impact by over 20%, while up to half of the 1.2 million tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) plastics in the EU could be recycled, up from the current rate of 20%.
Sector-wide circular design principles can be achieved by setting up a roundtable that brings companies and their suppliers together to share solutions. A more reliable system for marking plastics as recyclable is also essential to ramp up recycling collection, the report adds.
Requirements for using recycled content in EEE would speed up the transition, it states. In addition, circular design principles – to encourage repairable, modular, upgradable and easily disassembled products – could be first developed within individual sectors before being turned into formal requirements.