Financial incentives among EC recommendations for increasing returns of discarded phones, laptops

Financial incentives are among recommendations adopted on October 6 by the European Commission (EC) for EU countries with the aim of increasing and encouraging the return of used mobile phones, tablets, laptops and their chargers.

These recommendations aim to help national authorities improve their performance in terms of collection, then reuse, repair, refurbishment and recovery of these small electronic devices when they become waste, the EC said.

European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius , said: “There are more than 700 million old phones lying around in our drawers, almost two for every European citizen.

“Citizens often have difficulty deciding what to do with it. We can make it clearer and easier to obtain returns, repairs and recycling of these products,” Sinkevičius said.

“Today’s recommendations focus on effective measures and incentives to increase the collection rate of small electronic devices across the EU by giving them a second life. It’s a win-win system: citizens benefit, the circular economy develops and we don’t lose essential raw materials.”

Examples of the recommendations include financial incentives such as discounts, vouchers, deposit systems or monetary rewards.

Another is to raise awareness and improve access and visibility of collection points to which citizens can return their small electronic devices.

A further recommendation is the provision of envelopes or prepaid labels to consumers for the return of their small electronic devices, and, further, the creation of partnerships between organisations responsible for reuse and operators of recovery systems, as well as the setting of reuse and preparation for reuse objectives.

These recommendations are now submitted for examination by national authorities as part of the implementation of European legislation on waste electrical and electronic equipment, the EC said.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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