Change is Good
Electrical appliances sold in Europe will soon be easier to repair! This is due to new rules aimed at encouraging manufacturers to design products with the circular economy in mind.
A circular economy is an alternative to our linear or straight-line economy in which we make, use, and dispose of items. In a circular economy, we will keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life. (Source: Wrap)
Ecodesign aims to promote reparability which can hopefully increase the lifespan of appliances. Ecodesign measures will facilitate product repair by ensuring the availability of spare parts over a long period of time after purchase (potentially 7 to 10 years).
The new Ecodesign Directive is in part an EU response to customer complaints about the fact that it’s easier and cheaper to buy new electrical appliances than repair them. This is usually due to limited availability of replacement parts, the complexity of the repairs, or the high price of spare parts.
The planned changes also include requirements to improve energy efficiency in domestic and business appliances by 2030. This will be achieved through the introduction of more stringent targets to reduce energy consumption while appliances are in use. Ecodesign measures for washing machines, washer-dryers, and dishwashers will also set a maximum use of water per cycle.
These changes will result in a major reduction in CO2 emissions making “a direct contribution to the implementation of the Paris Agreement. It is estimated that consumers across Europe could collectively save €20 billion on energy bills per year from 2030. And there will be water savings, thanks to changes to household washing machines and washer-dryers. Around 711 million m3 of water could be saved per year. (Source: European Commission).
Did you know there are more washing machines in Europe than cars, each typically containing between 30 kg and 40 kg of steel? Build quality and reliability is not the same for every machine, though. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, longevity is measured in washing cycles, ranging from about 2,000 for entry-level machines to 10,000 for high-quality appliances. The longer a machine remains functional, the lower its lifetime-wash-cost will be.
It’s also worth noting electronic waste made up of discarded electrical or electronic devices is now the world’s fastest-growing source of waste. Around 50 million tonnes are produced each year. But only around 20% is disposed of appropriately. Moving towards a circular economy model, with an emphasis on reusing rather than replacing items, could be one way to tackle the e-waste global challenge.
About Recycle IT
Recycle IT is an award-winning social enterprise providing recycling collection and drop off services for all types of waste electrical, electronic equipment (WEEE) and pure metal items.
During 2018 Recycle IT operated drop off and collection services to tens of thousands of homes, schools, charities and businesses across Dublin and surrounding areas collecting a range of WEEE which includes thousands of batteries, computers, cables, monitors, kettles. microwaves and screens.
Recycle IT services are provided in partnership with WEEE Ireland. Recycle IT is supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development, Dormant Accounts Fund, Pobal, South Dublin County Council and authorized by the National Waste Collection Permit Office and the local authorities across Dublin, Kildare, and Wicklow.