Ecodesign: households could save even more money with products designed to consume less and last longer

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Sustainable Dev.
Climate & Environment

Press release

The S&Ds are committed to ensuring a smooth transition to a sustainable economy in which resources are not wasted, and production processes and products are not harmful to human health and the environment. This is why S&Ds advocate a circular economy, in which products and raw materials are re-used, repaired and recycled.
 
One of the crucial aspects to be changed is product design. So far, the EU Ecodesign and energy labelling policies only affect energy-using products and are focused solely on reducing energy consumption. If applied correctly, this tandem of legislation can save 490 euros every year per household on energy bills. But, more can and needs to be done.
 
Tomorrow, S&Ds will vote for improving the ecodesign legislation on two grounds: on the one hand, to ensure better compliance with existing legislation, since some electric devices such as hairdryers or vacuum cleaners are using more energy than promised. On the other hand, to extend the scope of ecodesign beyond energy savings to take into account the environmental performance of the product, looking also at composition, durability; disassembly, reparability, and recyclability.
 
S&D vice-president for sustainability, Kathleen Van Brempt MEP, said:
 
“If we apply stricter ecodesign rules for products on the European market, we should be able to enforce them through a harmonised European market surveillance system. We learned the lesson from the Dieselgate scandal: what is the point of having ambitious laws if we don’t make sure that they are respected? We gave the European Commission the competence to carry out an independent study of car emissions, and we should also give it the competence to examine the ecodesign features of electric appliances and energy-related products.
 
“Today, it is estimated that between 10 to 25% of products on the market do not comply with the current ecodesign requirements. This results in a 10% loss in potential energy savings, which is equal to the entire electricity production of Belgian’s nuclear park.
 
“This cannot go on any longer. We know that testing and surveillance is expensive, time-consuming and difficult, but this cannot be an excuse for doing nothing. We want a minimum percentage of products to be tested yearly for compliance with European rules.”
 
The S&D spokesperson on ecodesign, Massimo Paolucci MEP, said:
 
“It is time for ecodesign measures to make the switch from energy consumption to resource consumption. Ecodesign could thus become one of the main EU tools for transforming our economy into a circular one.
 
“The most important everyday products should be covered by this new approach so as to reduce their impact on the environment.
 
"Particular attention should be paid to goods and products which are imported from outside the EU or sold online, in the interest of both the environment and a fair competition.”