A team of volunteers, activists, and researchers at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya has created eReuse.org.
EU project eReuse.org have develop the mature, open-source, decentralised, local, scalable tools and services to aligned to EU action plan for the circular economy, specifically points 6, 8, 9, 10, 13a, 17, 18, 20, 21. eReuse.org outcomes are aligned to EU action plan for the circular economy to effectively ‘close the loop’ and achieve a transition to a Circular Economy where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and the generation of waste minimised. eReuse.org tools and services are appropriate measures to improve the durability, reparability, reusability, upgradability and ensure traceability for recyclability of products. Reusers have support tools to report further reuses and to finally recycle them at authorised points. eReuse.org enable markets for circular products and services and generates data that enables a transition towards a fully circular economy by building the knowledge base for environmental action and sustainability. Researchers, citizens, companies, and governments can access to reliable, timely and understandable information regarding the environmental characteristics of products and services can help make informed choices based on verifiable and transparent information.
The current model of consumption of high technology is clearly unsustainable. Mobile phones require many rare and precious metals in their construction, leading to a potential irrecoverable loss of resources and an effect on other categories, such as global warming, human toxicity, and metal depletion. Moving towards a circular economy must go beyond just recycling materials at a product’s end-of-life. A circular economy is one that aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. Repair and reuse implies maintaining a product in use, unlike recycling which indicates the death of the product.
Many digital devices or Electric and Electronic Equipment (EEE)—such as desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile computers— from businesses and public organizations when being amortized or out of guarantee, are recycled instead of being fixed, upgraded or reused (product and waste loop). These days, many technological devices restrict the way users can repair the device or replace parts if hardware breaks or becomes outdated. For example, special tools are needed to open most smartphones, and replacing a battery is not possible without risking the warranty on many phones, tablets, and computers. Technology should be designed such that everyday users can repair them, a vision that seems far-fetched given that most products have gone the other direction in recent years by restricting their repairability, disregarding durability in product design, and even artificially limiting the useful life of a product (built-in obsolescence). This could and should change entirely in a future of collapse.
Repair and reuse effectively contributes to generate a circular economy, prevents waste generation, reduces the risk of WEEE issues such as leakage to landfills or illegal exports, creates jobs, strengthens the digital skills, contributes to strengthen projects for social change and to reduce digital divide.
Reuse centres and society have a set of support tools to facilitate (hardware rating, deletion of data, tests of operation, inventory, labelling, finding recipients, and packaging) improve the durability, reparability, reusability, upgradability and recyclability (point 8).
Reusers have support tools to report further reuses and to perform traceability at component level to finally recycle them at authorized points (point 8 – ensure recyclability, point 13a – prevent illegal transport, point 9 – verifying product life time).
Social enterprises and reuse and recycling centres can create their own instances (local web portals) or operate one as a cloud service. These should find sustainable models, offering donor services, such as preparation for reuse and maintenance services equivalent to an extended guarantee to social recipients or follow the computing as a service model (point 17 – taking up new technologies and business models, digital solutions, more resource-efficient services, products and production processes).
Reusers have support tools to report further reuses and to finally recycle them at authorised points. Social enterprises and reuse and recycling centres can create their own instances (local web portals) or operate one as a cloud service. These should find sustainable models, offering donor services, such as preparation for reuse and maintenance services equivalent to an extended guarantee to social recipients or follow the computing as a service model. (point 9 – extend the legal guarantee of all sales of goods , point 20 – to create markets for circular products and services).
Researchers, citizens, companies, and governments are building a resource system: a set of software tools, services, devices and open data around the life cycle of digital devices. A data exchange protocol is standardised to facilitate global traceability beyond locally known agents in the reuse chain and produce open data while preserving privacy. This allows third parties to use the aggregated open data in innovative ways, such as for research or potential audits. (point 13a – prevent illegal transport).
Citizens can analyse data concerning hardware tests and device and report on electronic waste landfills. In future our methods and the open data about durability allow providing better information to enable buyers to select products with high potential for reuse and to avoid components with too-short durability, while leaving the remaining for recycling (point 20 – Green Public Procurement (GPP) towards the Circular Economy).
Next steps is improve information about traceability and circularity information regarding devices, like durability of certain models, total usage time of devices, or the path they have followed after acquiring them until they have been recycled. This builds confidence in donors, governments, manufacturers, and donor organisations and is in line with recent European directives.
Most importantly, it generates data that enables a transition towards a fully circular economy by building the knowledge base for environmental action and sustainability. (point 10 – timely and understandable information regarding the environmental characteristics of products and services can help make informed choices , point 19 – green public expenditure , point 20 – Green Public Procurement (GPP) towards the Circular Economy.
eReuse.org impact on Council conclusions on the EU action plan for the circular economy.
6. SUPPORTS the Commission’s approach in the Action Plan to address the entire life cycle of products and STRESSES that such an integrated, cross-sectoral approach is essential to effectively ‘close the loop’ and achieve a transition to a Circular Economy where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and the generation of waste minimised; ENCOURAGES the Commission and the Member States to create an enabling and coherent policy environment and legislative framework for systemic innovation to promote a circular economy throughout the value chain, including opportunities to experiment with such innovations.
8. STRESSES the need to ensure that products are designed and produced more sustainably, taking into account their full life cycle and minimising negative impact on the environment and on human health; in this context; NOTES with concern that the Commission has failed to meet the timetable indicated in the annex to the action plan for actions regarding eco-design; REQUESTS the Commission to follow-up on these actions without further delay; URGES the Commission to include appropriate measures to improve the durability, reparability, reusability, possibilities to use recycled materials, upgradability and recyclability of products in the EU Ecodesign regulations, and other legislation as appropriate, before 2020; INVITES the Commission to evaluate before the end of 2018 for which product groups, other than energy related, it would be possible to take better into account resource efficiency and impact on the environment and human health, building on experiences from the Ecodesign directive;
9. STRESSES the need for action at European level to extend the lifetime of products, including by addressing planned obsolescence; INVITES the Commission to develop common methods for assessing and verifying product life time; NOTES the Commission’s proposal on online sales of goods; LOOKS FORWARD to discussing the possibilities to extend the legal guarantee of all sales of goods on the basis of this proposal and the ongoing fitness check of the EU consumer and marketing law; INVITES the Commission to investigate what other initiatives can be taken at the EU level in the interest of extending the lifetime of products, for instance by promoting the availability of spare parts;
10. NOTING the crucial role of consumers in the transition to a Circular Economy; EMPHASISES the importance of raising awareness, promoting appropriate market based mechanisms and developing supportive infrastructure, in order to boost sustainable behavior, consumption and production, both in Business to Consumer and Business to Business markets; STRESSES that access to reliable, timely and understandable information regarding the environmental characteristics of products and services can help make informed choices; CALLS upon the Commission to develop and propose a methodology to ensure that environmental claims, including labels, are based on verifiable and transparent information, taking into account specific conditions in Member States and the lessons learnt from the ongoing European pilots on the environmental footprint and Environmental Technologies Verification; ENCOURAGES the Commission and the Member States to support awareness raising activities directed at consumers in promoting the Circular Economy;
13a RECOGNISES that export of waste can make it harder to achieve higher recycling rates; CALLS for reinforcement of controls within the EU and at its borders to prevent illegal transport of waste, in line with the revised waste shipment regulation.
17. EMPHASISES that research and innovation are essential to develop the necessary sustainable and resource efficient industrial, economic and societal processes to stimulate the transition to the Circular Economy; CALLS upon the Commission to support the EU industry in research and innovation, in improving cross-cycle and cross-sectoral cooperation, and in taking up new technologies and business models, digital solutions, more resource-efficient services, products and production processes and better alternatives for hazardous chemicals and materials in terms of human health and environmental protection;
19. REITERATES that a circular economy not only requires investment in sustainable and innovative solutions, but also green public expenditure in order to mobilise public and private sector initiatives; in this regard WELCOMES the available support and increased focus for circular economy in EU funds and financial programmes; CALLS upon the Commission to actively support the Member States, the private sector and other stakeholders to use these funds, to facilitate the transition to a Circular Economy by improving resource and energy efficiency and minimising waste, including through application of the waste hierarchy; ENCOURAGES the Commission and Member-States to apply the Polluter Pays Principle to cover the costs of the necessary waste management infrastructure in a sustainable manner;
20. UNDERLINES that government has a key role to play in creating incentives and ensuring effective application of Green Public Procurement (GPP) towards the Circular Economy; CALLS upon the Commission and Member States to stimulate and facilitate circular business models that enable an increased share of green public procurement in the public expenditure at all levels possible, to create markets for circular products and services; REQUESTS the Commission to develop guidance and incentives for the application of GPP for Circular Economy including on application of life cycle costing; CALLS upon the Commission and Member States to build on existing targets for GPP, to accelerate the transition to the Circular Economy, to improve monitoring, and to actively facilitate exchange of knowledge and best practices between Member States, and to provide support for GPP training schemes;
21. RECOGNIZES that SMEs, while often drivers of innovation and at the forefront of the transition to a Circular Economy, face specific challenges; SUPPORTS measures to enhance the possibilities of SMEs to profit from opportunities which the transition to a Circular Economy presents, as well as support SMEs to adapt and contribute to the transition to a Circular Economy; WELCOMES the contribution of the Eco-Innovation Action Plan and the Green Action Plan for SMEs to the transition towards a Circular Economy;[:]