“Appliances' pension plan” for a better and cleaner Europe

The short reportage follows the life of an appliance that has been left disappointed with the way some products are treated at their end of life. Launched on International E-Waste Day (14 October 2019), the video explains why achieving Circular Culture can be the right shift towards circularity and how European legislation can bring this model forward.

For the International E-Waste Day on October 14th, APPLiA has launched a humorous and informative video reportage that follows the life of an appliance that has been loyal to consumers, and has been left disappointed with the way some products are treated at their end of life. Abandoned or improperly sorted home appliances have become a not very unusual scene to see while walking on the street and the statistics show that 17% or nearly one-fifth of small appliances do not reach the established recycling process for electronic waste. “Around ⅔ of e-waste is undocumented so we are losing a lot of precious materials like aluminium, copper, plastics and we don’t know what happens to it”, Korrina Hegarty, APPLiA’s Environment Policy Director, stated. 

To make citizens more enthusiastic about recycling their old appliances, APPLiA has interviewed key experts in the circular economy process. “We are able to reuse 90% of the material from electronics put in our network and those materials are used for new products”, Saar Bentein, a spokesperson at the Belgian collection network organisation, Recupel said. Recydel - a recycling facility based in the small Belgian town, Wandre - has also seen major difference in the way waste is being treated and its potential value afterwards. 

Recycling, although very important, is only one part of circular economy. As an alternative, circular culture and the idea that everyone can play a part in society could be the solution that closes all existing gaps, including those in production and use. A few years ago, APPLiA launched an initiative called “Circular Culture”, an online platform dedicated to ongoing best practices regarding not just e-waste but also food waste, increasing recycling and other sustainable actions that are contributing to sustainable lifestyles. “What consumers should or can do is to think that someone actually has to grab all of that waste and throw it away again. So if they're throwing away a frying pan with oil still in it then someone has to deal with it and with the oil inside and throw it away”, Tom Caris, Project Manager in Coolrec advised. 

In May 2019, Europeans voted for a new European Parliament to further advance their lifestyles. In these lines, the video reportage proposes a way forward on how European legislation has the potential to improve circularity. “What we need is legislation that can help us in making a product again. We need information to start with, so what substances we need to look at, we need to standardise waste to screen it, we need a European end of waste criteria for plastics”, Tom Caris highlighted. To portray the ideal future, APPLiA’s Director-General Paolo Falcioni said: “Imagine if all European States could track all waste and it were treated according to the best environmental standards, imagine if all European Member States could zero the illegal trade of waste: now, that would be a better and cleaner Europe.”