Commission publishes Circular Economy Package

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On 30 March, the European Commission presented its legislative initiatives to “make sustainable products the norm in the EU”, as outlined in its Communication. As an implementing part of the Circular Economy Package, several proposals and initiatives were put forward: the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR), the Directive on Empowering consumers in the Green Transition and the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles. 

The ESPR aims to set the standard for ecodesign requirements imposed on nearly all goods sold in the EU. The proposed Regulation will broaden the scope of the rules to address their design phase and hence cover the widest possible range of products. Furthermore, additional requirements have been set so that businesses and consumers can make informed purchasing decisions based on information regarding a product’s energy use, recycled content, durability and reparability. To implement these requirements, the European Commission will draft a series of delegated acts, based on a list of priorities that will be established this year. The European Commission also lays down a new framework for digital product passports, which will be instrumental for the implementation of the proposal.  

To spur consumers’ environmental awareness and ban “greenwashing and planned obsolescence”, the proposed Directive on Empowering consumers in the Green Transition introduces targeted amendments to horizontal consumer law. The Commission’s text lays down new unfair commercial practices, such as misleading or vague environmental claims, which will be prohibited. Information requirements on a product’s durability and reparability will also be strengthened. 

Finally, the Commission pitched product-specific sustainability rules by introducing the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles. The Communication lays down priorities to make the textile sector more sustainable, calling for new eco-design rules and preventing the destruction of unsold goods (under the ESPR), improving information flow (trough the product passport), but also the generalisation of Extended Producer Responsibility for textiles.  

The Commission is currently reaching out to stakeholders to collect their feedback before adopting the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation and the Directive on Empowering consumers in the Green Transition at the end of May. You can contribute to the two discussions by clicking, respectively, here and here. 

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