Norms and regulations

Electronic devices: ecodesign is now the law

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

The new regulation comes into force in August. Incentives for recycling-oriented design and production. Fight against planned obsolescence.

The market of electronic devices opens even more to circular economy: on August 7th a new regulation will enter into force defining criteria and methods to promote an ecosustainable design and production of Electric and Electronic Equipment (EEE). The regulation was just published on the Official Gazette and complies with Art. 5 par. 1 of the legislative decree March 14th 2014 no. 49, which in its turn implements the EU directive 2012/17/EU concerning Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).

The goal of the new regulation is to start a virtuous circle where the whole life cycle of electronic devices is planned to be ecosustainable from its production: every device will be designed so that each component can be easily disassembled and recycled. To this end the regulation promotes the cooperation between manufacturers and operators of treatment, recovery and recycling plants. The regulation also promotes the ecosustainable design and manufacturing of EEE so as to simplify their reusing and recycling, and it supports the market of recycled materials for the production of new devices.

The new measures refer to the legislative decree February 16th 2011, no. 15, and to the specific EU regulations mentioned in the preface. The main goal is to optimize the treatment of end-of-life electric and electronic devices, meaning all the activities necessary for a correct treatment, recovery and recycling of WEEE. To this end the regulation orders manufacturers to implement ecodesign strategies to simplify reuse and recycling operations. These strategies include:

  • usage of recyclable and biodegradable materials
  • reduction of the quantity and difference of materials
  • increase of the recyclability of a product and its components
  • limitations to the use of hazardous substances
  • optimization of product disassembling

Producers who can prove they reduced the cost for the disposal of their goods will be allowed to apply for a reduction of the eco-tax by submitting the required documents to the Vigilance Committee and after a control of their WEEE management.

The new regulation also promotes the cooperation between manufacturers and operators of treatment, recovery and recycling plants, by outlining all the information on how to prepare the products for recycling and for a correct disposal, in addition to guidelines concerning design, manufacturing, disassembling, recovery and recycling.

The new regulation also aims to fight the phenomenon of “planned obsolescence”: manufacturers are required to increase the durability and reliability of their products, and to simplify maintenance operations, repairs, and modular design. Manufacturers are also requested to support the creation of official repair and reusing centres and networks to guarantee the reusing of their products. Repurposed products will be covered by a minimum 12 month warranty and will be marked with a specific tag carrying the writing “repurposed product” (“prodotto ricondizionato”).

Read the regulation on the Official Gazette (in Italian)

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