EU Proposes Rules to Address Environmental Impact of Consumer Products
The European Commission announced today the launch of a package of proposals aimed at improving the sustainability profile of almost all products across the EU, making them more environmentally friendly, circular, and energy-efficient through their lifecycle.
The proposals cover a broad set of physical goods and include new strategies to make textiles more durable, repairable, reusable, and recyclable, improve the environmental and climate performance of construction products, and introduce new proposed rules to enable consumers to be better informed about the environmental sustainability of products.
Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal said:
“It’s time to end the model of ‘take, make, break, and throw away’ that is so harmful to our planet, our health and our economy. Today’s proposals will ensure that only the most sustainable products are sold in Europe. They allow consumers to save energy, repair and not replace broken products, and make smart environmental choices when they are shopping for new ones. This is how we bring balance back in our relationship with nature and reduce our vulnerability to disruptions in global supply chains.”
Key actions for making sustainable products the norm in Europe include making products greener, circular, and energy-efficient through Ecodesign requirements, improving products sustainability information by introducing Digital Product Passports, preventing the destruction of unsold consumer products, promoting sustainable business models, and setting requirements for green public procurement.
The Commission stated that buildings are responsible for about 50% of resource extraction and consumption and represent more than 30% of the EU’s total waste generated by year. The revision of the Construction Products Regulation aims to modernize the existing rules to create a framework to assess the environmental performance of construction products. New requirements would aim to make these products more durable, repairable, recyclable, and easier to re-manufacture.
European consumption of textiles has the fourth-highest impact on the environment and climate change after food, housing, and mobility. Its 2030 vision for textiles includes having all textile products on the EU market be recyclable and repairable, free of hazardous substances, made as much as possible of recycled fibres, and produced in respect of social rights and the environment.
The new specific measures in the Textiles Strategy will include design requirements for textiles, clearer information and a Dgital Product Passport, tight controls on greenwashing, reverse overproduction and overconsumption, and a mandatory EU extended producer responsibility scheme, among others.
Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, said:
“European consumers rightly expect more environment-friendly and longer-lasting products. More sustainability and resource efficiency also means more resilience when a crisis disrupts our industrial supply chains. By harnessing the potential of the Single Market, making the most of digital tools and improving market surveillance, we will maximise opportunities for businesses and consumers alike. Greater resource and energy efficiency in the construction and textile sectors in particular will generate highly skilled jobs across Europe.”