Waste prevention should always be our priority. However, even in the transition to a circular economy, residual streams from production and consumption processes will remain. It is important to ensure appropriate waste management and prevent landfilling or incineration of valuable resources. Our goal is to ensure that reliable, harmonised standards promote preparation for reuse and material-efficient recycling. This way we can turn waste into a resource and close the loop in a sustainable way by, for example, using organic waste as fertiliser, sustainable treatment of WEEE and batteries, and recovery of critical raw materials.
In our digitalised and tech-hungry world, the amount of electronic and electrical devices is ever increasing. Sooner or later, all of these devices are discarded due to early replacement or defects. E-waste is one of the most problematic waste streams globally because of its large volume and the environmental risks it poses, largely due to hazardous substances . In 2016, more than a quarter of the 44,7 Mt of e-waste produced worldwide was generated in the EU with an average of 16,6 kg/person. So what happens with this mountain of e-waste?
Almost 90% of material resources used in the EU are lost after their first use. A lot more effort is needed to accelerate a systemic transition to a circular economy, to drastically reduce the EU’s absolute natural resource use and greenhouse gas emissions, respecting the planetary boundaries and striving towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. To achieve this, the Prevent Waste coalition of European civil society organisations advocate for the improvement and enforcement of EU policies on waste prevention and product design.
Following from the decision by the European Commission to make provisions for the exclusion of halogenated flame retardants from electronic displays, a decision supported by ECOS, EEB and the Coolproducts campaign, the resulting legislation has now been published despite strong opposition from chemicals industry stakeholders.