Darstellung nachhaltige Produktzyklen

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Today, the European Commission published its draft Sustainable Products Initiative (SPI) and a proposal for an EU strategy for sustainable textiles. The Ecodesign Directive currently in force is to be replaced by a new regulation. The exising Ecodesign Directive sets requirements for the repairability and durability for only a small number of devices, such as washing machines, refrigerators, TVs, lighting and motors. In the future, textiles, furniture, steel, cement and chemicals will also be covered by a new Regulation on Ecodesign for Sustainable Products. The goal of the new Regulation is to set stricter requirements for the sustainable production, durability and recyclability of textiles, in particular. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action support the basic purpose of the Regulation with which the European Commission seeks to bring more sustainable products onto the internal market.

Christiane Rohleder, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for the Environment responsible for consumer protection said: "Sustainable products should become the norm in the EU in the future. Natural resources are finite. This is why we must increase the repairability and durability of products. This will benefit the environment and consumers. Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine makes cutting down the use of resources and energy even more urgent. We therefore support the high requirements for ecodesign proposed by the European Commission. It is important to note that in the future, these EU requirements will also apply to products with large markets, such as textiles or furniture. In this way, we will save energy and resources in production and come a big step closer to a right to repair for all physical products. With the textile strategy, we can hopefully put an end to some of the clothing industry's wrong developments in the past. Clothing in particular is often produced in unsustainable ways and at the expense of the environment or human rights. If we stipulate mandatory quality requirements for all textiles on the EU internal market, this will also improve global manufacturing conditions in the textile sector."

State Secretary Udo Philipp said: "European ecodesign has a long and successful history and, in the past, has already contributed significantly to increasing energy efficiency and improving consumer protection in Europe. In today’s world, scaling back our energy consumption – either directly through reducing the use of energy or indirectly through improved material efficiency and better protection of resources – is also a matter of European security and sovereignty. By amending and widening the regulatory scope as proposed, I am confident that European ecodesign will become an effective tool to successfully transform the economy towards climate neutrality."

Through the Sustainable Products Initiative (SPI), the European Commission aims to establish energy efficiency and resource conservation requirements for a wide range of product groups. Unlike the Ecodesign Directive currently in force, the new Regulation is to apply not only to energy-related products, but to almost all physical products. The future Regulation is to provide the legal framework for setting mandatory environmental protection and resource conservation requirements for products. The new Ecodesign Regulation itself does not impose any direct requirements on products. It does, however, specify what requirements should and can be included in future product regulations. The Commission will present a timetable for the development of priority product regulations. What is new is that the entire life cycle of products is to be taken into account when it comes to establishing new environmental protection requirements. The provisions contained in the Regulation are intended to lead to longer durability, the availability of spare parts and greater reparability of products. They are further intended to increase the use of recyclates, thereby strengthening recycling as a whole. The requirements of the current Ecodesign Directive have not been that specific.

The European Commission’s Textile Strategy is now placing the focus on the transformation of the clothing sector. The purpose of the new, comprehensive and more stringent requirements is to curb non-sustainable "fast fashion" and increase the recyclability of products. This is to be achieved, for example, by combining it with the Ecodesign Regulation, which has been extended to include textile products. Currently, more than 20 billion items of clothing are in circulation in the EU each year. In the view of the Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, the clothing industry therefore holds great potential for advancing a climate-neutral circular economy. Both ministries are committed to achieving binding requirements for sustainable product design in the textile sector in the EU internal market. In particular, the increasingly common large-scale use of cheap synthetic fibres (elastane) in textile manufacturing makes sorting by type of material and potential recycling more difficult. In addition, both ministries are working to achieve mandatory requirements regarding the use of recycled textile fibres in newly produced clothing. This is because the obligation to collect old textiles separately will apply in the internal market from as early as 2025, and the amount of old clothing collected will increase. However, the EU does not have infrastructure for fibre-to-fibre textile recycling on an industrial scale as yet. In order to ensure the high-quality collection and recycling of old textiles in the future, the Federal Ministry for the Environment is carrying out a research project into the possibilities for implementing extended producer responsibility. The European Textile Strategy also includes a recommendation for extended producer responsibility, which means that our considerations come at the right time in order to remain capable of action in the European context.

The drafts for the Sustainable Products Initiative (SPI) and European Textile Strategy presented today will now be discussed by the EU Member States and the EU Parliament. They will then be submitted to the EU trilogue procedure before they can be published by the European Commission.