At the Circulaire-IT Year Congress, Andreas Mayer, the CEO of Flex IT Distribution and a representative of EUREFAS, discussed the world of refurbished electronics in a compelling manner. Mayer emphasised EUREFAS’s role in advocating for a shift from a linear to a circular economy.
He highlighted the European Commission’s efforts to define refurbishing and create standards and certifications to build consumer trust. Mayer also pointed out the changing audience and the increasing interest in this topic. Importantly, he dispelled the common belief that the pandemic would lead to widespread enthusiasm for refurbished electronics. “During COVID-19, everyone thought this was a breakthrough, and everyone would now buy refurbished,” Mayer recalled. “But we clearly saw after the end of the pandemic that it didn’t go as smoothly.”
Mayer didn’t just praise refurbished electronics in his address; he explored the essence of refurbishing more deeply. He emphasised that the goal is not to persuade people to exclusively choose refurbished devices but to promote a nuanced understanding of which type of device best suits individual users and their specific needs. Mayer also mentioned the proactive efforts of companies worldwide to refurbish devices, aiming to raise awareness and pressure for positive change.
The challenges facing the industry were also discussed, such as the need for an adequate supply of refurbished products and longer delivery times compared to new ones. He also stressed the importance of product passports and the development of comprehensive frameworks to establish strong standards in the refurbishing field.
During discussions with the engaged audience, topics like import restrictions and trademark rights were explored. Mayer highlighted a unique European aspect, saying, “In Europe, it is not possible to retrieve used goods for resale without permission from the holders of the trademark rights.”
In conclusion, Mayer expressed EUREFAS’s ambitious goal of positioning Europe as a leader in the refurbished electronics sector. “I believe we are well-positioned in Europe because the mindset here has shifted in this direction compared to other markets and regions,” he affirmed.