Designers and manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment have a new tool at their disposal for measuring the resource efficiency of their products. The European Commission’s in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), has developed a methodology that can be used to identify the “hot spots” of energy-using products, meaning the points at which improvements can be made to make products more recyclable, or to reduce their environmental impacts in other ways.

The methodology involves five steps, which are spelled out in a scientific article by JRC researchers published in the November 2014 edition of the Journal of Cleaner Production. The steps are: characterisation of the product; assessment of its environmental impact; identification of the product’s hot spots; identification of improvements at the product level; and assessment of policies that could be put in place to improve resource efficiency for the group of products (for example, televisions).

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