The one-for-all TV remote control

On 24 August 2017, the Atlantic Digital Network (ADN) in Bulgaria sent a letter to the European Commission calling for the introduction of a universal TV remote to replace the redundant remote controls in use. According to a study sponsored by ADM, such a standard would prevent the emission of about 240,718 tons of CO2 every seven years, equivalent to the emissions of 24.5 million gallons of oil. The proposal aims to reduce environmental damage, make it easier for consumers and support the EU’s circular economy by eliminating inefficient products from the market and reducing e-waste.

The purpose of the open letter is to bring to the attention of the European Commission the problem of redundant TV remote controls used in our daily lives and to put forward a concrete solution that benefits consumers, the environment and the circular economy.

Average weight of a remote control100g (for example, see Walmart, n.d.)
Amount of ABS in one remote control~ 0.075kg
Time Range7 years: 2007-2013 (see Michel, Attali and Bush, 2014 p.11)
Number of TVs in use in 2013 in the EU337 million (see Michel, Attali and Bush, 2014 p.11)
CO2 emissions for 1 kg ABS3.1kg (Boustead, 2005 p.9)
Avg. life expectancy of a TV set4-10 years à avg. 7 years (CCM, 2017)
Avg. life expectancy of a remote control~ 7 years (CCM, 2017)

The Universal TV-Remote:

Every 7 years we would prevent an estimated total of 240,718.6 tonnes of CO2 emissions from the production of plastic, batteries and fibreglass on redundant remote controls.

The letter continues:

  • The use of multiple remote devices confuses users;
  • All components are harmful to the environment;
  • EU eco-design policy requires that products that contribute little to the energy efficiency of goods are eliminated from the market.

The Atlantic Digital Network reminds that “the EU’s circular economy strategy requires taking into account the e-waste disadvantages of redundant remotes”. ADM maintains that the best solution is to reduce the number of redundant remotes, “by introducing a mandatory uniform EU standard for the production of TV sets”. This standard, it says, “will usher in a new generation of devices that will be operated by a universal and standardised TV remote control”.