This month the European Parliament agreed its position on the proposed “Circular Economy”. The published document covers a wide range of matters including reference to existing Ecodesign legislation, revising waste targets and developing markets for secondary raw materials.
As expected there is an emphasis on product design including expected lifetime and, of course, availability of spare parts. One slightly worrying suggestion is that consumers should have two years in which to return allegedly faulty goods without having to prove that a fault exists – not perhaps an issue for products that already have a two year or more commercial guarantee but even the current 6 month limit can present a challenge for retailers.
The document also contains various notions for ways to deal with hazardous chemicals; binding waste reduction targets and ambitious targets for reuse/recycling as well as harmonised methods for evaluating products’ environmental footprints.
As expected the position is very ambitious and it remains to be seen how much is actually achievable in the coming years.
The final version of the text is available online.