Talks begin on next EU ecodesign work plan

  Resource efficiency issues such as durability might be better addressed through horizontal EU ecodesign standards covering a range of products rather than rules for individual products, say European Commission consultants.

  The suggestion is made in a draft report by the three consultancies preparing recommendations on the products to be addressed under the next 2015-17 work plan for the ecodesign regime.

  Although the Commission is keen to improve resource efficiency through ecodesign, many of the biggest resource impacts of products come during production or at the end of their lives, making it hard to regulate through product standards, the report says.

  Having said that, there are several issues, including use of recycled plastic, recoverability of magnets, circuit boards and batteries, and durability, that could be regulated through ecodesign and these tend to apply across a range of products.

  The most recent draft from the consultants, released on 4 July, contains information on 20 of the 27 product groups identified by the consultants as promising candidates for new standards. Some of these were also discussed at a first stakeholder meeting on 3 July.

  Ecodesign standards are only considered for products sold in significant quantities in the EU, with a reasonable environmental impact and improvement potential

  An initial prioritisation exercise puts anti-legionella filters used in hospitals, aquarium equipment and mobile phone base-station systems at the top of the list.

  Other products being considered include greenhouses, lawn mowers, hair dryers and swimming pool heaters. Although transport is out of scope, the consultants also say electronic and cooling systems used in vehicles might be suitable candidates.

  The consultants will narrow down the options and submit a list of no more than 20 recommendations to the Commission by the end of the year.

  Some participants at last week’s meeting asked why the reviews due for some existing ecodesign standards could not be integrated into the work plan. A Commission official stressed that these were two separate processes.

Excerpted from ENDS Europe DAILY