Visual: own CANVA design with illustrations by NotionPic and Chirawan05

The destruction of unsold products represents the most wasteful scenario conceivable in a linear economy. All upstream pollution involved in bringing a product to the market, including those related to the extraction of raw materials, manufacturing, assembly and distribution take place without delivering any utility to society.

46 NGOs and business associations urge the Environment Committee of the European Parliament to support an immediate ban on the destruction of unsold textiles and electronics.

Our letter illustrates that there is sufficient evidence and a robust case to support a ban for textiles and electronics in Article 20 of the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation.

The case for electronics

Electrical and electronic equipment continue to be one of the fastest growing waste streams in the EU, with an annual growth rate of 2%. E-waste has proven to be a challenging waste stream with low collection rates (less than 40% of electronic waste is recycled in the EU).

Closely related digital services account for 4.2% of European GHG emissions, 54% of this results from the manufacturing of equipment.
Analysis from France suggests that around 1% of all electronic appliances remain unsold and destroyed each year.

In the case of just microwaves and kettles alone, it is estimated that 98,000 and 140,000 units are destroyed respectively each year. For these two products this represents 25,000 tonnes of CO2eq, 690 tonnes of steel, 110 tonnes of glass, 2 million litres of water annually. The electronics sector comprises 1000s of product groups with a growing diversity.

Read our letter to the Committee on Environment of the European Parliament HERE