The new legislation, proposed by the European Commission in March 2022, lays down new requirements for the design of products to limit their impact on the environment, make them more reliable, reusable and repairable, but also easier to recycle and more efficient in terms of the resources consumed.
Among the concrete measures, the destruction of unsold clothing and footwear will now be banned. This measure will take effect two years after the law comes into force. Medium-sized businesses will have six years to comply, while small businesses will be exempt. The Commission will have the power to extend the ban to other product categories.
In addition, large companies will have to disclose the volume of products scrapped each year and provide explanations to justify this practice, in the hope of encouraging them to stop. With regard to eco-design, the Commission will define specific requirements for certain consumer goods in order to encourage the circular economy.
It said on Tuesday that it would give priority to “high-impact” products, in particular textiles, furniture (including mattresses), iron and steel, aluminium, tyres and electronic products. Motor vehicles are excluded from the new legislation as they are already covered by specific regulations.
Putting an end to “extract, manufacture, throw away
The text also introduces a “digital passport” for clothing, as for a wide range of consumer products, in the form of a QR code containing information that will enable consumers and businesses to find out about the environmental impact of their purchases and thus inform their choices. It will also provide information on traceability and the materials used to facilitate repair and recycling.
“It is time to put an end to the ‘extract, make, throw away’ model that is so harmful to our planet, our health and our economy”, commented Social Democrat MEP Alessandra Moretti, the text’s rapporteur. “New products will be designed in a way that benefits everyone, respects our planet and protects the environment”, she said.
European employers welcomed the agreement reached on Tuesday, but expressed concern about new administrative constraints. “The ecodesign regulation has the potential to create a solid market for circular products and speed up the transition”, welcomed Markus Beyrer, Director General of BusinessEurope, but expressed concern that “the information requirements are unworkable and will overburden” businesses.
The text, which has been negotiated for several months by EU co-legislators, still has to be formally approved by MEPs in plenary session and by the Member States.
Read more – Fashion United – (AFP)