EU adopts new rules to make household products more sustainable

Under the new rules, manufacturers must ensure their products are repairable and recyclable, in addition to improving their energy efficiency

The Big Zero report

The European Commission has adopted new measures to make household appliances, such as refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers and televisions, more sustainable.

Under the new rules, manufacturers must ensure their products are repairable and recyclable, contributing to the EU’s circular economy objectives by improving the life span, maintenance, reuse, upgrade and waste handling of appliances.

From 2021, firms will have to make appliances longer lasting and supply spare parts for products for up to 10 years, in addition to improving their energy efficiency.

The package of measures is expected to deliver 167TWh of final energy savings per year by 2030, equivalent to the annual energy consumption of Denmark.

The Commission estimates European households will save around €150 (£134) per year on average and reduce emissions by more than 46 million tonnes of carbon equivalent.

The savings come on top of those achieved by the existing eco-design and energy label requirements, which are expected to deliver yearly energy savings of around 150 million tonnes of oil equivalent by 2020, roughly equivalent to the annual primary energy consumption of Italy.

For consumers, that means an average saving of up to €285 (£254) per year on their household energy bills.

Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, said: “Together with smarter energy labels, our eco-design measures can save European consumers a lot of money, as well as help the EU reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Eco-design is therefore a key element in the fight against climate change and a direct contribution to meeting the goals set in the Paris Agreement.

“As we move towards our long-term goal of a fully decarbonised EU by 2050, our energy efficiency and eco-design strategy will become ever more important”.

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