Green Tech

EU commission adopt new recommendations for used mobiles, tablets and laptops

The European Commission introduced policy recommendations for its Member States to enhance the return of used electronic devices. These recommendations aim to boost collection rates, facilitating re-use, repair, refurbishment, and recovery. The EU faces a low collection rate for small electronic devices, e.g., mobile phones under 5%, with an estimated 700 million unused devices in households. These devices are rich in critical raw materials like rare earths in the magnet, cobalt in the battery, indium in the screen, tantalum, and precious metals in the printed-circuit board.

These recommendations aim to help national authorities improve their performance in terms of collection, then reuse, repair, refurbishment and recovery of these small electronic devices when they become waste, the EC said.

The Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: “There are more than 700 million old phones lying around in our drawers – that’s almost two for every person in the EU. Citizens often find it difficult to decide what to do with them. We can make it clearer and easier how to get such products returned, repaired and recycled. Today’s recommendations focus on effective measures and incentives to increase the collection rate of small electronics across the EU, giving them a second life. It’s a win-win – people can benefit in many ways, while the circular economy grows, and we don’t lose critical raw materials.’’

The recommendations include financial incentives such as discounts, vouchers, deposit systems or monetary rewards. Another is to raise awareness and improve access and visibility of collection points to which citizens can return their small electronic devices.

A further recommendation is the provision of envelopes or prepaid labels to consumers for the return of their small electronic devices, and, further, the creation of partnerships between organisations responsible for reuse and operators of recovery systems, as well as the setting of reuse and preparation for reuse objectives.

The European Commission said these recommendations are now submitted for examination by national authorities as part of the implementation of European legislation on waste electrical and electronic equipment.

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