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ECS urges the industry to plan for the future following the rejection of VA Agreement

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Having turned down the OEM’s voluntary agreement for imaging, the European Commission have signalled the end of the ‘Take, make, dispose’ model by publishing their own Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Working Plan. Following an assesment of the Voluntary agreement submission which was proposed by representatives of the OEM and aftermarket, the European Commission ajudged that the agreement was not sufficient in terms of its ability to achieve the objectives of the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) and therefore couldn’t be considered adequate regarding the re-use of consumables.

As a result of this decision, the Commission have proposed new rules and regulations which intend to use a successful ‘eco-design’ approach which will set product-level requirements that promote energy efficiency, circularity and overall reduction of environmental and climate impacts. The regulations will be set in product-specific legislation, including rules to make a broad range
of products that circulate the EU market more ‘durable, reliable, reusable, upgradeble, reparable, easier to maintain and refurbish and more resource efficient’. The substances contained within products that inhibit circularity or the amount of recycled content within is also likely to be addressed, as well as ways to make them easier to remanufacture and recycle, including the removal of firmware updates.

Effective Consumable Solutions have suggested that the move clearly intends to eliminate any business practices that abuse the ‘take, make, dispose’ business model through the use of a circular approach that hinges upon restricting the products that can be placed onto the European market through strict guidelines. The UK remanufacturer and recycler suggests that these proposals could be a major win for all circular economy enthusiasts as remanufactured products are set to take centre stage while compatibles and new-build cartridges are to be a thing of the past due to their inability to meet the EU Commissions upcoming proposal.

ECS’s Director, Chris Fink, shared his thoughts on the recent news that is set to have a significant impact on the industry’s aftermarket; “The EU Commisions proposals look promising with firmware updates set to become a thing of the past, reducing some key barriers and hurdles that we as remanufacturers face when it comes to the remanufacturing process itself. The regulations themselves should completely remove many of the cartridges that are being imported from overseas, including new-build cartridges. In turn, this will ensure that these suppliers
will have to move to more eco-friendly products should they wish to continue supplying the European market.”

Fink continued with some final advice for those whose current supply of products aren’t compliant with incoming proposals – “dealerships, office equipment suppliers and MPS providers alike must consider their current product supply, as a huge proportion of products on the European market in its current state will not be accepted once the EU Commissions eco- design proposals and legislation are in place, leaving remanufactured cartridges as a very attractive alternative option for most of these companies. While there has been no time scale set for when the proposals and legislation will be in effect, finding a distributor whose products meet these guidelines would be advised.”