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Ecodesign Measures Adopted for Availability of Spare Parts Covering Wide Range of Consumer Goods

On 1 October 2019, the European Commission adopted ten ecodesign implementing regulations, setting out energy efficiency and other requirements for product groups which include refrigerators and electronic displays (such as televisions). Eight of the new regulations revise already existing requirements, whereas refrigerators with a direct sales function and welding equipment are being regulated for the first time. It is estimated that this package of measures will deliver 167 TWh of final energy savings per year by 2030. This is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of Denmark. At the same time, however, the new measures will impose new burdens on economic operators. Therefore, Hong Kong sellers will have to familiarise themselves with the new rules, once they are published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The ten ecodesign implementing regulations adopted by the European Commission on 1 October 2019, cover the following product groups:

  1. Refrigerators
  2. Washing machines
  3. Dishwashers
  4. Electronic displays (including televisions)
  5. Light sources and separate control gears
  6. External power suppliers
  7. Electric motors
  8. Refrigerators with a direct sales function (e.g. fridges in supermarkets, vending machines for cold drinks)
  9. Power transformers
  10. Welding equipment

Through the newly adopted measures, it is expected that European households will manage to save, on average, EUR 150 per year.

In order to promote reparability, and therefore to increase the lifespan of appliances, several of the new ecodesign measures aim at facilitating product repair by ensuring the availability of spare parts, in particular that:

  • spare parts will be available over a long period of time after purchase, e.g.:
    • 7 years minimum for refrigerating appliances (10 years for door gaskets);
    • 10 years minimum for household washing-machines and household washer-dryers;
    • 10 years minimum for household dishwashers (7 years for some parts for which access can be restricted to professional repairers);
    • 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 will have to ensure the availability of repair and professional maintenance information for professional repairers.

In addition, ecodesign measures for washing machines, washer-dryers, and dishwashers set a maximum use of water per cycle. At the same time, a minimum of washing efficiency and rinsing effectiveness are required so that the reduction of water use is not achieved to the detriment of washing and rinsing performance.

Six of the product groups that are subject to the new and revised ecodesign requirements, are also covered by new energy labelling rules, i.e. refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, electronic displays (including televisions), light sources and refrigerators with a direct sales function. Please click on the following for more information on the new energy labelling rules.

In the EU, the Ecodesign Framework Directive sets the framework requiring manufacturers of energy-related products to improve the environmental performance of their products. The Energy Labelling Framework Regulation complements the Ecodesign Framework Directive by enabling end-consumers to identify the better-performing energy-related products.

Hong Kong sellers may like to know that, according to a recent Eurobarometer survey, the energy label is recognised by 93% of Europeans and 79% have been influenced by it when buying an appliance. Eurobarometer surveys are a series of public opinion surveys conducted regularly on behalf of the European Commission, addressing a wide variety of topical issues relating to the European Union throughout its Member States.

The Ecodesign Working Plan 2016-2019 identified the potential of ecodesign measures to contribute significantly to circular economy objectives. It is generally believed by law-makers that decisions made at the design phase greatly influence what happens during the use and end-of-life phases of consumer goods, 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 fight against climate change, and the EU commitments in respect thereof.

The new set of ecodesign measures adopted on 1 October is perceived as a concrete contribution to the circular economy and the EU’s 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.

Hong Kong traders should bear in mind that the EU ecodesign measures apply to the products concerned which are placed on the EU/EEA market, independently of where they are manufactured. This means that all such products, imported and placed on the market for the first time, will have to comply.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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