Eliminating the concept of electronic waste

"The end-of-pipe approach, recycling end-of-usage products, cannot be the only solution. The industry needs to review the way electrical and electronic products are designed, manufactured, used, and collected to keep them out of the waste stream." A July 6 article in Circulate, which is "curated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation," outlined necessary steps:

  • Improve repairability
  • Industrialize refurbishing
  • Sell a service, not a product
  • Design for repair and reuse
  • Create frictionless collection

"Each household in France owns an average of a hundred pieces of electrical and electronic equipment. And this number will keep growing... Unfortunately, the more equipment we own, the more we trash. Waste electrical and electronic equipment is currently considered to be one of the fastest growing waste streams in the European union, growing at 3-5% per year.
To recover high value materials from waste, the electronic and electrical equipment industry has massively invested in collection and recycling infrastructures. But today, results are disappointing: in Europe only 35% of discarded e-waste is properly collected by formal recycling systems while the valuable rare elements are almost entirely lost during recycling."

The author concluded that "Electronic and electric equipment manufacturers are amongst the world's most innovative companies. They are working hard to make everyday life easier. But so far they've taken little advantage of their unique capacity to adopt circular design approaches and invent more effective production and use models, or reduce the use of high value materials. And that needs to change."