Page 17 - Material Flows of the Home Appliance Industry
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   211 M
EU households
Home appliances are today an integral part of daily life and improve the domestic life in 211 million EU households, fulfilling fundamental needs such as preservation and preparation of food and keeping homes and clothes clean and healthy. The importance of appliances in daily life is shown by the near 100% penetration of products such as fridges and washing machines, a figure that shows how appliances are not only crucial for our way of life but also how available appliances have become.
“Enormous energy ef ciency increase over the last 20 years.”
The home appliance sector has been consistently supportive of the product specific regulation under the frameworks of the Energy Label and Ecodesign Directives that have led to an enormous increase of energy efficiency in home appliances over the last 20 years.
The contribution to sustainable modern living will continue to develop over the coming years, not least through the introduction of smart-enabled appliances. Using appliances will continue to develop consumer sustainable lifestyles not only through energy efficiency, as has been traditionally the case, but with the harnessing supply of clean energy when it is available.
To produce appliances, the industry consumes resources such as metals and plastics that are recyclable. Metal, specifically, have been recycled throughout
“Only one-third of the electronic waste is reported.”
Because of the high metal content and intrinsic economic value of large appliances, and the historic presence of the recycling industry, already long before EU legislation, market dynamics make sure that a large share of all electronic-waste is handled outside the industry driven recycling schemes. With only one-third of e-waste effectively traced in Europe, success has been as much about enforcing legislation as a full societal effort, not just making laws. Society at large needed to tackle actual problems, such as e-waste escaping control.
While the industry driven recycling schemes do collect substantial amounts of WEEE, even larger amounts are handled outside the schemes. Achieving the new collection targets set for 2019 and onwards will therefore only be possible when these quantities handled by other economic operators are accounted for and proper discard by consumers is tackled.
There are a variety of ways to limit waste and manufacture sustainable products: targeting at-source material efficiency (i.e. reducing the quantity of material used in the creation of products), increasing the efficiency with which products, once created, are used, using more sustainable materials, designing for extending product use-time by for instance enabling reparability and refurbishment (allowing for re-use), and/or undertaking actions at end-of-life, such as recycling or recovery. Interconnectivity and smart appliances also have the potential to drive circular economy measures in the future.
time thanks to their inherent economic value. In the last years, end-of-life recycling and material recovery has been further promoted by legal requirements introduced by EU waste legisation.
The sector takes a market-based approach to deliver circular economy on the ground. Innovation & competition are key drivers to deliver a circular economy by continuously improving resource efficiency at the production of new products and enabling high quality recycling and recovery of secondary raw materials at end-of-life treatment of products.
Manufacturers, when designing their products, must take into account a large number of criteria: consumer needs and expectations, use of resources, safety and consumer protection, production costs, reparability and end-of-life treatment. The constant drive to reduce costs for both producers and consumers is the most important factor to increase resource efficiency and reduce waste at all stages of the product lifecycle.
 The appliance industry has set up recycling schemes across Europe to ensure that discarded products can be collected and recycled according to best available technology and in line with the established standards to meet the recycling and recovery targets set by the EU WEEE Directive.

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