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Designing Plastics Circulation

Electrical and Electronic Products

image of Designing Plastics Circulation

Presently most electrical/electronic equipment (EEE) is not designed for recycling, let alone for circulation. Plastics in these products account for 20% of material use, and through better design, significant environmental and financial savings could be gained. Technological solutions and circular design opportunities already exist, but they haven’t been implemented yet. Some challenges, such as ease of disassembly, could be resolved through better communication and by sharing learnings across the value chain.Instead of WEEE, we should focus on developing CEEE: Circular Electrical and Electronic Equipment.The case examples of this report show how different stages of the lifecycle can be designed so that plastics circulation becomes possible and makes business sense. It is time to take a leap in material flow management and scale up these circular solutions across the industry.

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Summary of key findings

80% of environmental pollution and 90% of manufacturing costs are the result of decisions made at the product design stage.1 Presently most electrical/electronic equipment (EEE) is not designed for recycling, let alone for circulation. Plastics in these products account for about 20% of material use, and through better design, significant environmental and financial savings could be gained. For example, using recycled plastic in an electrical/electronic product could reduce the environmental impact of a single product by over 20%. If all waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) plastics in Europe were recycled, estimated CO2 emission reductions would be over 2.5 million metric tonnes per year.

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