European Parliament Backs Rules for More Sustainable Products

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.24 - 2024 9:56 AM CET

EU Parliament approves new ‘ecodesign’ rules to make products more sustainable.

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On Tuesday, the European Parliament approved new rules aimed at making products sold in the EU more reusable, repairable, upgradeable, and recyclable. These measures are part of the EU's push toward a circular economy and are a key component of the Green Deal, contributing to the EU's goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Alessandra Moretti, a leading lawmaker on this initiative, highlighted the significance of this move, stating that it's "time to put an end to the 'take, make, throw away' model that is so harmful to our planet, our health, and our economy."

Revised 'Ecodesign Regulation'

The updated 'Ecodesign Regulation' expands upon the 2009 directive, which primarily focused on energy-related products and energy efficiency, leading to a 10% reduction in annual energy consumption for those products. The new regulation extends its focus to resource-intensive sectors, including iron, steel, aluminum, textiles, furniture, tires, detergents, paints, lubricants, and chemicals.

Notably, motor vehicles are excluded from the regulation.

According to Eurostat, only about 13% of materials were recycled and reintroduced into the European economy in 2020. The updated ecodesign rules aim to improve this rate and contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly EU economy.

New Digital 'Product Passports'

A significant addition to the new rules is the introduction of digital 'product passports.' These passports contain detailed information about a product's performance, traceability, and compliance requirements. This information will be accessible to consumers through a public web portal, allowing them to make more informed purchasing decisions.

To further encourage recycling, economic operators will be required to declare annually the quantities of products discarded and the reasons for their destruction. The new rules specifically prohibit the destruction of unsold clothing, accessories, and footwear two years after the law comes into force.

Calls for Swift Implementation

Monique Goyens, director general of BEUC, the European consumer organization, emphasized the need for rapid implementation of the new rules. She said, "The framework needs to be implemented quickly. (…) It is essential that the European Commission and member state market surveillance authorities allocate resources to the development and application of the new rules."

The new rules require final approval from national governments before they can become EU law. If approved, these rules will play a crucial role in achieving the EU's environmental goals by promoting product reuse, recycling, and sustainability.

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