The European Union’s New Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation

Thanks to the new regulation, companies will have to take measures to prevent the practice of destroying unsold consumer products. The destruction of unsold textiles and footwear in particular will be banned completely (with “derogations for small companies and a transition period for medium-sized ones”). This ban could extend into other sectors as well if needed.

The new regulation, as the EU writes, will “help make sustainable products the new norm in the EU” by making them “last longer, use energy and resources more efficiently, be easier to repair and recycle, contain fewer substances of concern, and include more recycled content.”

The European Parliament and the Council will now proceed to formally adopt the regulation, which will enter into force 20 days after it has been published in the EU’s Official Journal.


The European Union’s New Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation

Focus on product durability, reusability, upgradability, and repairability

Published Dec. 6, 2023, by Impakter.

The European Consumer Organization, BEUC, welcomed the agreement, with Director General Monique Goyens saying, “These new rules will finally make longer-lasting and resource-efficient products the new normal. This is great news as consumer organizations have been flagging over the years countless complaints of short-lived phones, TV screens, and many other products most of us own.”

Importantly, the new requirements “go beyond energy efficiency and aim to boost circularity.” This includes addressing the presence of chemical substances inhibiting reuse and recycling, promoting energy and resource efficiency, increasing recycled content, and reducing carbon and environmental footprints.

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The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union reached a provisional agreement last month on the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation.

Products like textiles, furniture, iron, steel, aluminum, tires, paints, lubricants, and chemicals, as well as energy-related products and electronics, will be given priority.

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Once enacted, the regulation will set the stage for a comprehensive working plan and establish the targeted products to lay the groundwork for a more sustainable future.

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Large companies will also be required to disclose the number of unsold consumer products they discard annually, which the EU expects will “strongly disincentivize businesses from engaging in this practice.”

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The legislation builds upon the existing Ecodesign Directive, which has driven improved energy efficiency in EU products for almost two decades. In 2021 alone, the EU’s ecodesign measures saved 120 billion euros in energy expenditure for the bloc’s consumers and resulted in the products using 10% less energy per year.