November 2022

Ecodesign – the driving force towards circularity

The Ecodesign Directive sets sustainability requirements for specific product groups sold within the EU. How does it impact the used electronics industry?

People have many choices to choose what to purchase, from choosing which organic fruit or which sustainable clothing they want. Unfortunately, buying an eco-friendly electronic device is more challenging. Yet, that can change, if more companies embrace ecodesign.

  • However, what is ecodesign, and why will this affect consumer behavior?
  • How does the Ecodesign Directive impact the used electronics industry?
  • Significantly, how does Foxway contribute to the new paradigm of environmentally conscious design?

Ecodesign towards sustainable electronics

Ecodesign for Sustainable Products is the European Commission’s approach to more environmentally sustainable and circular products. The proposal establishes a framework to set ecodesign requirements for specific product groups sold within the EU. The aim is to significantly improve their circularity, energy performance, and other sustainability aspects.

Ecodesign helps the EU’s goal to become climate-neutral by 2050. 

The circular economy is evolving

The vision of a circular economy first evolved as a solution to society’s increase in waste. That is why policies and business practices have focused on e-waste and raw materials, thus, we are witnessing the increased implementation of circularity.

"Product design determines what kind of environmental effects devices have. Ecodesign practices are pivotal to accelerating the transition to a circular economy"

/ Agnes Makk, Head of Recommerce at Foxway

Nowadays, elongating product lifetime is more focal to the circular economy than recycling e-waste. Thus, the key driver of circularity is incorporating sustainability into the product design. Our transition to more sustainable products will mean positive changes throughout the product lifecycle and consumer behavior.

New research by the RSC states a growing demand for more sustainable technology. The RSC online survey revealed that 60% of consumers would likely switch their preferred tech brand if they knew the product was made sustainably. In addition, people expressed their frustration at the lack of information on how to manage their own e-waste.

The scope of ecodesign

Improved ecodesign of electronic devices makes our planet more sustainable. This framework will facilitate the setting of a wide range of requirements, including:

  • product durability, reusability, upgradability, and reparability
  • presence of substances that inhibit circularity
  • energy and resource efficiency
  • recycled content
  • remanufacturing and recycling
  • carbon and environmental footprints
  • information requirements, including a Digital Product Passport

All the above lower energy consumption and increase device longevity for EU customers.

Sustainability in product design should be a global initiative.

Ecodesign already applies to some electronic devices

At the time of writing this article, the EU legislation on ecodesign applies to 31 product groups. Some categories fall under electronic devices refurbished and resold by Foxway.

For example, computers, some electronic displays, and data storage devices must follow ecodesign requirements. Usually, the requirements involve energy-efficient design and appropriate labeling. But, ecodesign also steps in to steer electronic device circularity. Some electronic device categories must follow disassembly and data deletion requirements. The latter is essential to device circularity, affecting reparability and secure data erasure.

Foxway is the leading sustainability enabler in the technology industry.

Foxway contributes to the ecodesign initiative

The bread and butter of companies like Foxway is enabling electronic device circularity. Initiatives like ecodesign and the Right to Repair ease the work of refurbishing electronic devices, thus increasing their circularity and generating a positive environmental impact.

Ecodesign measures significantly contribute to the circular economy. Together with the refurbishment industry association EUREFAS, Foxway is engaged in a dynamic dialogue with European institutions and the public to expand on sustainability initiatives. While this framework applies to goods sold on the EU market, competition for sustainable product design can bring sustainable global changes.