Electronics reconditioning and refurbishing
Addressing the mounting e-waste challenge, this methodology emphasizes projects reconditioning and refurbishing electronic devices. By giving devices a second life, we avoid the production of a new device, and reduce potentially harmful e-waste.
Eligible projects within this sector-specific methodology encompass both reconditioning and refurbishing of electronic devices. This methodology mainly targets small consumer electronics, such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, desktop computers, and screens, due to their prevalent use and high potential for reuse.
The reconditioning process is comprehensive, involving collection, meticulous reconditioning, and redistribution phases. Key steps include inspecting and assessing the device, replacing defective components, ensuring functionality through testing, cleaning, and possibly updating software, culminating in the device's resale. The reconditioning phase is characterized by mostly manual processes with minimal energy and material consumption, yet the production of replacement parts, like a new screen for a smartphone, can be the most impactful aspect.
Refurbishing, on the other hand, is more focused on repairing existing parts of the device, addressing cosmetic or technical issues without the need for extensive part replacement. It's a simpler, less costly process compared to reconditioning.
While both reconditioning and refurbishing are eligible for carbon credits, it's important to differentiate between them in this methodology. This distinction allows for a clearer understanding of the project's approach and the extent of work involved in restoring the electronic devices to their functional state. These projects contribute significantly to reducing electronic waste and promoting sustainable practices by extending the life cycle of consumer electronics.
Over 12 million tonnes of electronics were put on the market in the EU in 2020, yet less than 4 million tonnes of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) were reused or recycled. This massive gap highlights the opportunity to increase the adoption of electronics reconditioning in the EU.
These figures cover all electronic devices, but looking at surveys of individual management of waste devices shows an even larger gap. At the end of the device's lifetime, 50% of smartphones and 30% of laptops are simply kept in the household, where they are not utilized in any way (reconditioned or recycled).
The current small reconditioning market is a global one. For example, 2/3 of refurbished products sold in France come from the USA or China. Developing the electronics reconditioning sector in Europe would reduce the transport emissions from this globalized reconditioning market.
- SDG 9: Device reconditioning improves resource use efficiency, and recovers reusable spare parts from devices that cannot be repaired.
- SDG 12: The project extends the lifespan of electronic devices, preventing the production of new devices.
- SDG 15: Projects reduce the need for raw materials and mining of minerals.
Access the full methodology here.