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EU Commission for greater sustainability by 2030

yesFor years, the EU has been making minimum specifications for the energy consumption of televisions, vacuum cleaners and washing machines. The best known are still the specifications of the lamps, which gave rise to the much lamented prohibition of the classic light bulb. For the EU Commission, the Ecodesign Directive, which allows it to write down minimum requirements, is a great success. Now there are such specifications for 50 products. A total of 3 billion goods are affected each year. In this way, the EU has saved energy equivalent to that consumed by Poland, calculates the commission. Households would have saved €120 billion in energy costs per year if high prices in 2021 are taken into account. At the same time, the EU consumed 26 billion cubic meters less of gas, a sixth of Russian imports Of gas.

From the point of view of authority, therefore, it is logical to continue. In the coming years, it not only wants to make more specifications for the consumption of energy products, but also extend the eco-design rules to almost all products. “That’s not to say that we also make specific specifications for all products, but we look at all products,” the commission says. The first group includes heat pumps or charging stations for electric cars, while the second includes construction products or textiles. The FAZ had already reported on the plans in early March.

The proposed law also stipulates that the Commission will not only make specifications for energy and resource consumption, but also for other sustainability criteria, from repairability, durability, recyclability and the proportion of recycled primary products to hazardous ingredients such as certain chemicals and CO2. -Fingerprint.

Digital product pass under discussion

For example, you could develop specifications for device construction so that raw materials can be easily recovered and devices can be easily disassembled and repaired. According to the Commission, specifications on how long a software vendor must provide updates are also conceivable. A digital product pass should provide information about the materials a product is made of and how easily it can be recycled.

The Commission is also selling this as an initiative to become less dependent on imported raw materials. A key aspect is to increase the useful life of many products. Many products don’t last as long today as they did in the past, and the Commission says there is clear evidence of this.

The Commission places particular emphasis on textiles. Textiles rank fourth in the list of products with the highest CO2 emissions, only 1 percent is recycled and every second a truck is destroyed in waste incineration plants, the commission argues. The trend towards “fast fashion”, ie disposable textiles that are rarely worn, exacerbates this. The Commission therefore wants to ensure that by 2030 only high-quality recyclable textiles that are produced under fair social conditions and without environmental pollution are sold in the EU.

High CO2 emissions from the fashion industry

“Fast fashion is out of fashion” is the goal. To do this, it relies on reliable labels, but also on export bans on used textiles and minimum quality requirements for clothing. The Commission also wants to reduce the use of microplastics in textiles and increase their recyclability by mixing fewer different fibers.

Delara Burkhardt MEP welcomes this: “The fashion industry is responsible for as much CO2 emissions as all international flights and shipping combined,” she says. “Now we have the opportunity to decide if sustainable clothing will just be a lifestyle for a certain group of people or if it will become the norm.”

The law gives the Commission enormous creative power. The European Parliament and the EU member states can examine and reject their proposals. Since, like the controversial proposals on taxonomy, these are so-called delegated legal acts, the hurdle for this would be high. The proposal also addresses criticism of companies like Amazon’s practice of destroying new, returned or unsold products.

Initially, however, the Commission only wants to force companies to provide information on how many and which products they destroy in a year. The Commission hopes that this will prevent them from destroying new products. If that’s not enough, the bill also makes it possible to prohibit the destruction of unsold goods, especially unsold textiles.

The extension of eco-design rules for energy products to all other products still needs to be approved by the European Parliament and member states before it can come into force. The initiative won the approval of the European Parliament and climate protectionists. “Our western lifestyle, with its endless addiction to new products and our throwaway mentality, is one of the biggest threats to our society. It is more than clear that we need to consume much less and produce much more intelligently”, says the Danish Green Party Margrete Auken.

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