New EU ecodesign measures introduced

From March 2021, manufacturers of various products, such as televisions, dishwashers, washing machines and refrigerators, will only be allowed to place appliances on the market if they stock spare parts and repair instructions. In addition, spare parts must be replaceable with "generally available tools and without permanent damage to the appliance", according to new EU eco-design regulations.

washing machine
picture: Steve Buissinne

The Q&A about the new EU ecodesign measures mentions:

 

The Ecodesign Working Plan 2016-2019 identified the potential of ecodesign measures to contribute significantly to circular economy objectives. 

Decisions made at the design phase greatly influence what happens during the use and end-of-life phases, not only in terms of energy consumption, but also in terms of life span, maintenance, repair, reuse, upgrade, recyclability and waste handling.

These measures also bring benefits at macroeconomic level, by reducing Europe's energy bill through energy savings and by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In this way, they represent a direct contribution to the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

This set of ecodesign measures is a concrete contribution to our circular economy and climate objectives. In particular, measures are included for the first time under ecodesign to support the reparability and recyclability of products. Moreover, existing requirements on durability (for lighting), water consumption (for dishwashers and washing machines) and marking of chemicals were also revised and adapted as appropriate.

In order to promote reparability, and therefore to increase the lifespan of appliances, among others these ecodesign measures aim at facilitating products repair by ensuring the availability of spare parts:

  • spare parts are available over a long period of time after purchase, e.g.:

o   7 years minimum for refrigerating appliances (10 years for door gaskets);

o   10 years minimum for household washing-machines and household washer-dryers;

o   10 years minimum for household dishwashers (7 years for some parts for which access can be restricted to professional repairers);

o   moreover, during that period, the manufacturer shall ensure the delivery of the spare parts within 15 working days.

  • spare parts can be replaced with the use of commonly available tools and without permanent damage to the appliance;

In order to enhance the repair market, manufacturers have to ensure the availability of repair and professional maintenance information for professional repairers.