"Endings are Always Beginnings"- Discussing the Recycling of Domestic Electric and Electronic Appliances Following the Proposed EU Directive
"Green Blue White" Vol.26
Tzvi Levinson and Tal Tzafrir - Advocates
Environmental consciousness already influences production activities in various ways. While designing and producing an appliance one should already keep in mind how that appliance will end its life. Refrigerators and air-conditioners serve as an example: when the destructive effects of CFCs on the atmospheric ozone layer were discovered they were phased-out of use. Manufacturers had to revise the design of these products since these gases, which are used in their cooling systems, are released to the atmosphere both during the product’s life and after it. This approach, termed “Cradle to Grave”, is now changing due to the addition of a new phase to the life of a product - that of re-use. A new, “life after death”, if you will. An appliance serving one use may be seen as raw material for another use. Obviously, the dismantling of an appliance to its useful, economically valuable components, is expensive, and their worth might even not cover it. To help save on these costs manufacturers might be required to produce appliances that lend themselves more easily for disassembly and to use components that can be re-used. Such are requirements to make use of as small a number of substances as possible, or make use of plastics of the same “family” only. Another problem that manufacturers and distributors might be required to tackle is that of collecting the appliances whose current term of usage has ended. This could prove quite complicated at least in relation to those appliances that fit in a dust bin (e.g. cellular phones, hand-held mixers, toasters) without the consumer giving their disposal any additional thought. The article surveys the questions which a future Israeli regime dealing with the subject will need to answer, the variety of solutions that already exist in the EU Member-States and the framework that the proposed Directive provides.