The proposed update of EU EcoDesign could have wide impacts on chemicals used in consumer products. EU EcoDesign enables definition of obligatory energy and sustainability criteria for products. The overall Ecodesign Regulation, to replace the existing Ecodesign Directive, will fix the framework for these criteria, under the EU Green Deal sustainable products initiative (see pinfa Newsletters 121 and 125). The draft new Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation was published 30th March 2022 (as part of the Circular Economy Action Plan) and will be submitted to European Parliament and Member States (Council). Criteria for different product groups will then be adopted by the European Commission as “delegated acts”, within this framework. The Commission has stated that this new Regulation “will be able to take action to restrict the presence of chemicals in products for reasons linked to improving the product’s environmental performance along its life cycle”, that is independently and beyond EU chemicals regulations.
The new Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation proposed text suggests (preamble 22) that criteria can limit chemicals for reasons other than chemical safety, and would require extensive information on chemicals in consumer products (preamble 25) and tracking of “substances of concern” throughout the product life cycle (art.7).The proposed text suggests a new definition of “substances of concern” which includes both a wide list of environmental and health hazard classifications and also potentially any chemical which “negatively affects the re-use and recycling of materials in the product”. This is the logic by which, already in 2019, the European Commission banned all halogenated flame retardants in TV and monitor cases under Ecodesign criteria, as validated recently by the European Court (see pinfa Newsletter n°136).
Commission communication on “On making sustainable products the norm”, COM(2022)140, 30th March 2022 https://ec.europa.eu/environment/publications/communication-making-sustainable-products-norm_en
Graphic source: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52022DC0140&qid=1649112555090
EU “Sustainable product policy and ecodesign” page https://ec.europa.eu/growth/industry/sustainability/sustainable-product-policy-ecodesign_en
“Proposal for Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation” – “Proposal for a Regulation establishing a framework for setting ecodesign requirements for sustainable products and repealing Directive 2009/125/EC 30th March 2022” https://ec.europa.eu/environment/publications/proposal-ecodesign-sustainable-products-regulation_en