Monday

28th Sep 2020

Circular economy leak: New rules on recyclable TV screens

  • Commission wants 'to make it easier and safer to dismantle, re-use and recycle electronic displays (e.g. flat computer or television screens)' (Photo: Clemens v. Vogelsang)

The European Commission is considering to require manufacturers of flat-screen computer monitors and televisions that their products can be easier to re-use and recycle, as part of its circular economy strategy.

The commission is due to present its paper on the circular economy next month, but a draft version was leaked and seen by this website.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

“The objective of a circular economy is to preserve and maintain the value of products, materials and resources in the economy for as long as possible, while minimising the generation of waste,” the text said.

The 22-page leak was undated and had some references between brackets, which means that some content may still change. But it gives an indication of the direction of commission thinking.

It noted that the circular economy strategy included “key legislative proposals on waste, fertilisers, and water reuse; strong commitments on Ecodesign; the development of strategic approaches on plastics and chemicals; a major initiative to fund innovative projects under the umbrella of Horizon 2020; targeted action in areas such as food waste, critical raw materials, industrial and mining waste, consumption, public procurement, and others.”

One of the features of a circular economy - a theoretical concept where materials are re-used and recycled rather than thrown away - is to improve product design, to “make products more durable or easier to repair, upgrade or remanufacture.”

The paper said incentives are needed for industry to achieve this, and that the commission wishes to provide those incentives through the "Ecodesign" directive, a framework legislation which allows it to set standards on efficient energy use for several groups of products.

“To date, Ecodesign requirements have mainly targeted energy efficiency; in the future, issues such as reparability, durability, recyclability, or the identification of certain materials or substances will be systematically examined, taking into account the specificities and challenges of different product groups and in close cooperation with relevant stakeholders," the paper notes.

“As a first step, the commission has developed and will propose shortly to Member States mandatory product design and marking requirements to make it easier and safer to dismantle, re-use and recycle electronic displays (e.g. flat computer or television screens).”

The paper also showed that the commission does not necessarily want to take sole responsibility for the circular economy.

“The action plan focusses on areas in which action at EU level will have the greatest impact and make most sense. Making the circular economy a reality will require long-term involvement at all levels, from Member States, regions and cities, to businesses and citizens.”

Since the commission does not have all the political tools available, it also calls on national governments to introduce measures, for example “to provide incentives and use economic instruments, such as taxation, to ensure that product prices better reflect environmental costs."

It did promise to “lead by example” by making sure that “a special emphasis is placed on aspects relevant to the circular economy, such as durability and reparability, when setting out or revising criteria” for public procurement.

It is yet unclear what the commission will propose regarding waste.

Shortly after taking office, Jean-Claude Juncker's commission announced it would withdraw a package of rules on reducing waste, but following criticism, said it would introduce “a broader, more ambitious” package.

While the leaked paper mentioned “a revised legislative proposal on waste” several times, those bits were between brackets, indicating that a final decision had not yet been taken at the time of drafting.

Meanwhile, it appears a group of green groups have also seen a draft version of the document.

The NGOs Seas at Risk, Friends of the Earth Europe, and the European Environmental Bureau, wrote an open letter to Juncker last Thursday (12 November), to “express support for the inclusion of urgent action on marine litter” in the strategy paper.

The version this website saw, did not include specific targets, but rather said the commission will “take action to fulfil the objective of reducing marine litter."

Scrapping of environmental plans 'alarming'

A group of 10 environmental NGOs are “deeply concerned” by draft European Commission plans to scrap proposals aimed at improving air quality and reducing waste.

Feature

The 150 random French citizens advising Macron

Some 150 randomly-picked men and women make up Emmanuel Macron's Citizens' Climate Convention. This week Macron invited them to the Élysée Palace and promised - nearly - all of their wishes would come true .

France shuts oldest reactor amid Macron climate pledges

France's oldest nuclear power plant finally closed on Tuesday, one day after president Emmanuel Macron pledged to speed up the country's transition to a greener economy responding to the proposals from the French citizens' convention on climate.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. Berlin repeats support for EU human rights sanctions
  2. China's carbon pledge at UN sends 'clear message' to US
  3. Far right using pandemic to win friends in Germany
  4. Visegrad countries immediately push back on new migration pact
  5. Why no EU progress on Black Lives Matter?
  6. EU migration pact to deter asylum
  7. 'Era of EU naivety ends', MEP pledges on foreign meddling
  8. Anti-mask protesters pose challenge for EU authorities

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  2. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  4. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  6. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us