Ecodesign: products should become even more energy and resource efficient

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Recyclable material, longer product life, improved reparability - the new eco-design requirements for products are now being implemented. The manufacture of screens is one of the first examples of a new generation of sustainable products that use fewer resources.

With its Circular economy package of December 2015, the European Commission declared the Ecodesign Directive (2009/125/EC) to be the central instrument of its resource efficiency policy. Previously, the implementation of this Directive had focused in particular on improving the energy efficiency of the products covered. The European Commission's new Circular Economy Action Plan of March 2020 underlines and reinforces this approach. Now, resource efficiency criteria are addressed in particular. The aim is to improve reparability, extend product life and make the materials used recyclable. The use of secondary raw materials in production and the upgradeability (updates) of products will also be regulated by eco-design requirements where appropriate.

In its position paper "EU ecodesign directive" of November 2017, the BDI had formulated thirteen principles which the resource efficiency criteria must meet in the further implementation of the Ecodesign Directive. In particular, the criteria must be clearly relevant to the environment and users and must not compromise the essential characteristics of the products concerned. The first applications of the revision of ecodesign requirements under the relevant regulations concern, for example, monitors (displays).

From now on, manufacturers must mark certain materials built into displays for later recycling to ensure that they can be safely removed. Materials containing cadmium and mercury must be labelled separately. Plastic parts weighing more than 50 grams must also be marked. Information on repair and re-use must also be provided. The current working plan (2016 - 2020) for the implementation of the Ecodesign Directive foresees that further product groups will be screened for potential resource efficiency criteria during the revision of the relevant implementing regulations - including household dishwashers and washing machines. The BDI will continue to monitor the process critically.