Ecodesign laws will require greater appliance energy efficiency

New EU ecodesign laws will require electricity-consuming products to be easier to repair or recycle, as well as even more energy efficient

The new rules wereagreed in principleby all 28 EU member states back in January 2019, and are among the final measures applying to the UK as a full member.

This will mean all TVs, monitors, fridges, freezers, washing machines, washer-driers, dishwashers, and lighting products sold anywhere within the EU market from April 2021 will have to meet minimum repairability requirements.

Up until now, the Ecodesign Directive hasfocused on making sure products are more efficient, so that they perform better while using less energy. But EU policymakers are now pushing a step further into the circular economy concept,making sure products both last longer and are easier to repair and recycle.

Consequently, the updated Directive is removing the most wasteful products from the market, replacing them with appliances that meet higher energy efficiency standards and are designed to be easier to repair or recycle.

The move is aimed at extending the lifetime of products, in order to save consumers money while also slashing greenhouse gas emissions generated by product manufacturing, waste disposal, and inefficient products.

Together with these new energy efficiency requirements, eco-design measures are reckoned to save around 5 per cent of the EU’s electricity consumption (140TWh) - cutting around £22bn from energy bills in the process.

Nevertheless, there remains concern thateco-labelshave yet to be adopted coveringoffice equipment such as computers, displays, and servers (see EiBI April 2019).

Chloe Fayole, strategy director at environmental group Ecos, hailed the new rules as a turning point in the way products are manufactured and used in Europe.

“With these measures, Europe has taken a big step towards a more circular economy, which should inspire the rest of the world,” she said. “We now expect EU decision makers to replicate this approach to many other products. Notably electronic products such as smartphones and computers, to minimise their environmental impact.”

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