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Legal background

Figure 1: European waste hierarchy
Figure 1: European waste hierarchy

The fundamentals of the European waste policy are written down in the Waste Framework Directive. According to the directive it is the main objective of the European waste policy to minimise the negative effects of waste generation and management on human health and the environment and also to reduce the use of resources Fehler: Referenz nicht gefunden. The aim is to create a recycling society within the EU that focuses mainly on waste prevention. A core element of this approach is the definition of a waste hierarchy that grants the highest priority to waste prevention, followed by preparing for reuse. The priority order in waste management, as defined by the Waste Framework Directive, is shown in figure 1. 

According to article 4 (1) of the Waste Framework Directive, waste prevention is granted the highest priority. Article 3 (12) of the directive defines prevention as “[...] measures taken before a substance, material or product has become waste [...]”. This definition takes waste prevention out of the scope of waste law. Reuse is defined in article 3 (13) as “[...] any operation by which products or components that are not waste are used again for the same purpose for which they were conceived”.  By this definition reuse is not subject to waste law either, but rather one aspect of waste prevention. 

In contrast, preparing for reuse , by its definition, deals with products that have become waste and is subject to waste law. According to article 3 (16) of the waste framework directive, preparing for reuse is the „[...] checking, cleaning or repairing recovery operations, by which products or components of products that have become waste are prepared so that they can be re-used without any other pre-processing;“

The prioritisation of reuse and preparing for reuse by the Waste Framework Directive emphasises the importance of the RUN project, as its main objective is to promote the reuse of notebooks, tablets and smartphones on a European level. In Germany, RUN will exclusively deal with the reuse of non-waste devices.

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