Page 3 - Material Flows of the Home Appliance Industry
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  Paolo Falcioni Director-General CECED
We, the home appliance industry in Europe, believe that what goes around should come around and also know that every fruitful discussion should be based on facts.
For this reason, together with the Sustainable Cycles specialised programme of the United Nations University (UNU-VIE SCYCLE), we would like to provide you with an overview of the circularity of the materials flows of one of Europe’s most established sectors, making this report a valuable tool for all those interested in the home appliance industry.
The result of investing more than €1.4 billion in research and development and creating nearly 1 million jobs is clear.
The home appliance industry is circular from the outset, tackling the challenges from the production of appliances to material recovery at their end of life. Between 2011 and 2015, the home appliance industry succeeded to reduce water consumption per product by approximately 30%, while waste generation and energy consumption per product decreased by around 15 %.
Once in our homes, thousands of millions of appliances advance our sustainable lifestyles. A dishwasher today uses only 10 litres of water while doing the dishes by hand amounts to ten times more. A fridge conserves 750 kg of food per person every year.
The industry has made considerable investments ensuring the recycling, treatment and recovery of electronic-waste by setting up recycling schemes across Europe. This ensures 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 EU legislation. The steel, copper, aluminium, plastics and the rest of the materials of the appliances that have made it to the recycling facilities come back to production processes in both our sector and other industries, helping to close the material loops.
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.
Some challenges remain, however. We still collect too few small appliances, many of which end up in the waste bin. These are products with low metal content and consumer awareness about the need to bring such appliances to collection points is low. We also need to better ensure that all collected appliances, large and small, inside and outside producer recycling schemes, are treated to the same high standards.
The full circularity of the economy goes beyond what economic actors alone can do: it embraces all our society and is a societal challenge.
A circular society is made by us and by you. Are you with us?

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