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ESA calls for EU drive on material efficiency in design

Greater focus on sustainable designs for electronics at EU level would help the implementation of the WEEE Recast Directive, according to an industry body.

Roy Hathaway, Europe policy adviser to the Environmental Services Association (ESA) has called for appliances to be more durable, repairable and reusable by designing out waste.

He was taking part in a panel debate at the Houses of Parliament, Making the most of electrical waste: ‘The Recast of the WEEE Directive’, which was an Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group event.

The European Commission has introduced an Ecodesign Directive to enforce a minimum level of efficiency in terms of energy for domestic appliances on a case-by-case basis for each product group.

But Hathaway later told MRW that the ESA was lobbying for an emphasis on materials by requiring a minimum level of material efficiency within the Ecodesign Directive.

It could, for example, require a minimum amount of recycled material to be used in a product instead of virgin material.

Similarly, designers could make it easier to extract and replace circuit boards from appliances.

Hathaway said the current scheme was a success, but the introduction of material efficiency measures would improve liaison between electronics designers and WEEE recyclers.

He said that certain products were made in ways that were unnecessarily difficult to recycle and communications between designers and recyclers could alleviate this problem.

Hathaway said it was important to keep Ecodesign measures at EU level so that it has a single market implication. It would also require importers from countries outside the EU to comply with the Directive.

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