Energy Efficiency

European Union adopts Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation

European Union adopts new Ecodesign Directive

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Published

May 31, 2024

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Published:

May 31, 2024

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Ecodesign is a set of conditions that a product must meet in terms of environmental protection at all stages of its life cycle, from production through use to the end of its life. The Council of the EU has adopted a new ecodesign regulation, covering almost all types of products, aiming to make them more durable and reliable as well as easier to repair and recycle, to save resources.

The European Union adopted the Ecodesign Directive in 2009. Until now, the rules were for the energy performance of household appliances. Labels from A to G help consumers choose the appropriate appliances. According to the European Commission, the directive has saved around EUR 120 billion on electricity bills.

The devices that were covered consumed 10% less energy annually. The new Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) covers almost all types of products, excluding cars and items listed under defense and security.

Consumers get online access to digital product passports

The regulation is extending the directive and introducing obligations on matters including product durability and the ability to reuse, upgrade, and repair. The rules prohibit making unfounded claims about product durability. Devices that require the replacement of consumable parts earlier than necessary, and ones that cannot function properly without original manufacturer replacement parts, will be banned.

Additionally, the regulation limits the content of substances that inhibit circularity, energy efficiency, and material savings, the level of recycled content, reusability and recyclability, and carbon and environmental footprints.

Products must have a digital passport

Another innovation is the digital product passport. To better inform consumers about the products they buy, products on sale will need to have a digital passport. The European Commission will manage a public web portal allowing consumers to search and compare information contained in the documents, the Council of the EU said.

No destruction of unsold clothing

The regulation introduces a ban on the destruction of unsold textiles and footwear. Two years after the legal solution comes into force, large companies will be completely prohibited from destroying unsold clothing, accessories, and footwear. The ban will be introduced for medium-sized companies six years after adoption. An exemption has been agreed upon for small businesses.

The commission is authorized to introduce similar bans for other products. The ecodesign regulation will be aligned with the digital services act, when it comes to products sold online.

The European Commission proposed the adoption of the new regulation on March 30, 2022. The council adopted its general position on May 23 of last year, while a provisional agreement with the European Parliament was reached on December 4.

Member states must begin applying the regulation within two years after its publication.

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