The plan first says that digital technologies can help reduce the environmental impact of other sectors. Then it lays out ways to address the growing waste problem of the tech sector itself.
The action plan is aimed at completely revamping the way that the bloc uses resources — tackling everything from clamping down on waste to mandating a greater use of recycled materials in new products, better classifying hazardous waste and hammering home the circular principles of reduce, reuse and recycle.
- Tech sector sells short-lived devices that are difficult to repair and are often replaced. Electronic devices are one of the fastest-growing waste streams in the EU, while only 35 percent electronic waste is recycled.
To reverse that trend, the European Commission wants to require manufacturers of electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets and earphones to make products more easily repairable and recyclable. The draft plans are still subject to last-minute changes but give a clear indication of the Commission’s thinking.
To reduce e-waste, the EU’s executive arm is set to consider a bloc-wide reward system for consumers to return or sell back electronic devices.
- But at the same time, the Commission is very aware it needs digital technologies in its drive to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.
The Commission wants to share the most relevant data on making supply chains more circular — such as the built environment, packaging, textiles, electronics, information and communications technology, and plastics. One of the key elements — to be developed in 2021 — is to set up a data platform to track waste shipments.
The EU’s digital chief Margrethe Vestager and Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton last month presented the bloc’s data strategy. Those plans included a common European Green Deal data space, which would use the “major potential” of data in support of priority actions on climate change, circular economy and zero pollution.
For more information : EU presents his new Circular Economy Action Plan