On March 30, 2022. The European Commission has proposed the introduction of an eco-design regulation for sustainable products. It is part of the European Green Deal’s Roadmap for a Closed Economy. Ecodesign for sustainable products aims to make them the norm in the EU market and reduce overall environmental and climate impacts. The Parliament and the European Council have now reached a preliminary agreement on the regulation.

Ecodesign for sustainable products – environmental relevance

With the life cycle of products in mind, it’s worth noting the huge amount of materials, energy and other resources that have a significant impact on the environment: starting with the extraction of raw materials, their transportation, their use and final disposal. Mining and processing of primary commodities contributes half of the world’s greenhouse gases and loss of 90%. biodiversity. Negative environmental impacts include depletion of resources, generation of greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. The European Union is taking numerous steps to reverse these changes. One of them is Ecodesign for sustainable products.

Products regulated under eco-design for sustainable products

The new provisions of the Ecodesign Regulation for sustainable products are based on the existing directive, which has been in place in the EU for nearly 20 years. The legislation will enable the gradual establishment of performance and information requirements for key products marketed in the Union.

The European Commission, according to the proposed provisions, will develop and regularly update – based on in-depth analysis and criteria – a list of products related to the EU’s climate, environmental and energy efficiency goals. This modus operandi is intended to provide predictability and transparency for the products covered by the regulation. Priority is to be given to products with a high environmental impact, including textiles (especially clothing and footwear), furniture (including mattresses), iron and steel, aluminum, tires, paints, lubricants and chemicals, as well as energy-related products, ICT products and other electronics. These regulations will not cover vehicles that are included in other legislation and products related to defense and national security.

Ecodesign for sustainable products – what does the new legislation cover?

The new ecodesign requirements go beyond energy efficiency and will aim to increase closed-loop, including:

  • Product durability, reusability, upgradability and reparability;
  • The presence of chemicals that inhibit the reuse and recycling of materials;
  • Energy and resource efficiency;
  • recycled content;
  • carbon and environmental footprint;
  • Access to product information, in particular a digital product passport.

The new regulation also introduces measures to end the environmentally harmful practice of destroying unsold consumer products. As stipulated, companies will have to take measures to prevent this harmful practice. The new legislation aims to ban the destruction of unsold textile and footwear products outright, with exemptions for small and a transition period for medium-sized enterprises. In addition, large companies will have to disclose annually how much unsold consumer products they dispose of and why. This is expected to strongly discourage them from engaging in illegal practices.

Ecodesign for sustainable products – benefits for consumers

The new regulations also aim to increase consumer awareness by adding information on sustainability-related product features. The information is to be available through a digital product passport that will help consumers and businesses make more sustainable product choices and help control regulatory requirements. Additional product information will also be able to be provided through labels, as is currently the case with the widely recognized EU energy efficiency label, which is now in effect for many energy-related products.

When will the new regulations take effect?

After a preliminary agreement, Parliament and the European Council will have to formally adopt the new regulation. It will enter into force on the 20th day after publication in the Official Journal of the EU. Once in force, the first work plan will be adopted under the new Ecodesign Regulation for Sustainable Products, which will specify the products to which the new regulations will apply.

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