New EU Ecodesign rules improve product repairability & sustainability

The new rules also introduce a ban on the destruction of unsold clothing and footwear.

New EU Ecodesign rules improve product repairability & sustainability
Photo by Tom Fisk

The EU Council and Parliament have reached a provisional agreement on new ecodesign rules that will make products sold within the EU greener and easier to repair. The new regulation will replace the existing 2009 EU Directive on Ecodesign and widens the scope of legislation (currently limited to energy-related products) to include environmental sustainability requirements for almost all categories of products (e.g., dishwashers, televisions, windows, car chargers) sold in the EU.

The new rules also introduce a ban on destroying unsold clothing and footwear. Given that an estimated 15-45 billion clothing items go unsold each year – and a significant percentage of those unsold garments are either shredded or burned – this seems like a positive step forward to promoting greater sustainability and reducing emissions within the fashion industry. (Though I do wonder if this will cause clothing companies in the EU to ship more of their unsold clothing to Africa, which apparently is already being treated as a "dumping ground" for fashion waste.)

I appreciated this quote from the official government announcement:

"The first element that makes a product green is the brain that designs it. With the agreement reached today we want to make sure that all the sustainable dimensions of product manufacturing are taken into consideration from the very first stage of its conception."

– Jordi Hereu i Boher, Spanish Minister for Industry and Tourism

A big fat YES to designing products and processes that eliminate waste and promote greater sustainability and repairability!

(Side note: though I have many concerns about AI, I do think it could play a valuable role in helping us design a no-waste economy where only the products that are necessary to meet existing demand get produced. I'm not anti-capitalism but I definitely AM against wasteful over-production and the manufactured desire for things that don't improve our lives in any way. ✌️)

Read the full announcement here.

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