The EU has adopted new eco-design regulations for household appliances, announcing the news on 1st October. Once the rules take effect across Europe, the eco-friendly design requirements will apply to fridges, washing machines, dishwashers and televisions. The aim is to ensure appliances are more energy efficient and to encourage repair and reuse.
The European Commission has revealed these new green measures are part of a continued effort to reduce Europe's carbon footprint, alongside making energy bills cheaper for European citizens. As such, we are likely to save an average of €150 per year every year on energy, according to Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness. Katainen claims that the EU is “embracing the circular economy and predicts the amount we will save will be equivalent to the “annual energy consumption of Denmark by 2030.”
What are the new eco-design regulations?
The new EU rules will mean household appliances such as fridges have to comply with a number of environmentally responsible requirements. These include repairability and recyclability to ensure longer life spans, and re-use, and upgrade elements involved in the waste handling of appliances.
To avoid the ‘throwaway culture’ of disposing of appliances once broken or worn, there will now be ways we can upgrade and repair them in order to keep them for longer. For instance, spare parts must now be available to buy 7 to 10 years after the original purchase of the item. Equally, manufacturers will have to ensure substantial maintenance information is available to professional repairers to comply with these requirements. The EU report also includes guidelines relating to water consumption, such as a maximum use of water per washing cycle, lighting durability and marking of chemicals to make appliances less wasteful in future.
“The new repair requirements will help improve the lifetime of everyday appliances that currently fail too quickly”, remarked Monique Goyens, Director general of BEUC and the European Consumer Association.
These new regulations go hand in hand with the recent unveiling of smart energy labels on products by the EU in March. These labels will act as obvious markers denoting more eco-friendly products, encouraging consumers to make more informed choices and buy energy efficient appliances in future.
Taking into account the eco-design legislation and the energy labelling initiative together, the savings are set to correspond to a reduction of over 46 million tonnes of CO2.