EU urged to use existing regulation to cut resource use

20th March 2015

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  • Pollution & Waste Management


Timothy Peatfield

The EU should make better use of the ecodesign Directive to improve resource efficiency, according to campaigning NGO, the European Environment Bureau (EEB).

The directive is expected to deliver over 40% of the EU's energy efficiency target by 2020 by setting limits on the amount of power that electrical and electronic equipment can consume, says the EEB.

In a similar way, it could be used to require producers to design products that they are more easily repairable, longer-lasting and more recyclable, the EEB believes.

In a report, the bureau sets out how the directive could improve resource use. Measures include:

  • identifying design requirements that support better repairability and durability of products;
  • ensuring that selected materials in products are managed from production to end-of-life, including using high shares of recycled content;
  • removing problematic or hazardous substances undermining the potential for reusing components or material from products.

The report also argues that asking producers to provide information about the materials in a product would help repair, disassembly and treatment once it had reached the end of its life. The information could be provided along with the product when it is purchased, or be easily accessible in a standardised format to help users like repair services, reuse centres or recycling companies, it states.

EEB policy officer for EU products Carsten Wachholz said: "Europe is import-dependent for many of the critical materials that are used in consumer products. So it makes sense to find ways to reduce the use of these materials and keep them in circulation for as long as possible.

"The ecodesign Directive, coupled with strong waste management policies, can help deliver that and make Europe more resource-efficient."

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