- Europe and Central Asia
Sectors of activity
Consumer Goods, Waste, incl. Chemicals, Scientific Research, Development and Innovation
Type of initiative
Research, Analysis, Assessment
Type of lead actor
Scientific and Technical
Over the past 5 years WRAP has been working with the Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) industry through our voluntary agreement, the electrical and electronic equipment sustainability action plan (esap) to pioneer innovative business practices that promote a more circular economy.
Since the first Switched on to Value report was published in 2014 we have undertaken rigorous research and worked with businesses up and down the EEE supply chain delivering projects that have generated commercial and environmental value.
Switched on to value: Powering business change draws on our collective research in the intervening period, presenting real solutions that can help business make the step change towards a circular economy.
An assessment of the current market for and environmental impacts arising from the manufacture and sale of electrical and electronic equipment in the UK; and the volume and impact of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) arising from this market.
Impact and Results
Why do we need to make that step change?
In the UK around 2 million tonnes of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) is placed on the market each year. This is having a growing and significant impact:
- 1.53 million tonnes of waste EEE was generated in 2015 and is set to increase over the next 5 years.
- The total lifecycle impacts of the products purchased each year are equivalent to 196 million tonnes CO2e in greenhouse gas emissions.
- The total lifecycle energy impacts of EEE purchased in the UK each year is 1.3 million terajoules.
The need for change is clear:
- The EEE supply chain faces new economic, environmental and social sustainability challenges and must meet these challenges whilst growing revenue, brand image and customer loyalty.
- Challenges such as global population growth, expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050 and rapidly increasing middle class market segments will put further strain on already stretched natural resources.
- Although the sector faces challenges there are huge opportunities for growth, prosperity and business resilience across the whole supply chain.
- The key to meeting this challenge head on is understanding the customer, their behaviour and the individual decisions they make throughout the lifecycle of the products they purchase.
- £1.5 - £3 billion worth of electrical products are returned to retailers each year.
- 90% of electrical products sold are new despite half of UK households owning at least one unused product.
- 14Mt CO2e savings could be achieved through using resources more sustainably.
- £4.4bn of financial benefit could be achieved through using resources more sustainably.
Next steps and how to get involved
To tackle the issues WRAP are bringing together business leaders from across the EEE supply chain under the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Sustainability Action Plan 2025 (esap 2025).