01 Feb 2022

Implementation of circular economy approaches in the electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) sector

Barriers, enablers and policy insights

Vasileios Rizos / Julie Bryhn

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Circular economy business models (CBMs) are identified as important levers in the transition to a circular economy (CE). Published in the ‘Journal for Cleaner Production’, this article aims to enrich the research in the field of CBMs by focusing on the electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) sector. The study adopts a multi-case study approach and uses a sample of 31 cases developed through the EU-funded CIRC4Life project and the snowball sampling method. To our knowledge, this represents the largest case study sample used to examine CE approaches in the EEE sector.

Our findings show that despite the various policy instruments in place to boost the CE transition in this sector, gaps exist which require policy attention. These include a lack of rules for transparency across supply chains, weak enforcement of EU waste legislation rules, the limited use of circularity criteria in public tenders and a lack of CE standards. Inconsistent requirements stemming from different policy domains can also pose challenges for companies adopting CE practices.

Among the suggested actions that can facilitate CE practices include knowledge sharing platforms and business partnerships, R&D project grants, product CE labels, financial incentives and awareness-raising campaigns.
The article was originally published in the ‘Journal of Cleaner Production’ and can be accessed here.

This paper was prepared in the context of the CIRC4Life project, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 776503.