Environmentally sustainable by design – thanks to new standards
2020 saw the publication of the EN 4555X standard series. A culmination of several years’ worth of our efforts, the standards will support the introduction of ecodesign requirements on material efficiency aspects such as recyclability, repairability or durability for a number of products, including fridges, dishwashers and washing machines.
These eight standards, the last of which were published by CEN-CENELEC in September 2020, should in future allow consumers to compare circular features in products across different brands. They include several common definitions and calculation methods for aspects such as repairability, reusability and durability for “energy-related products”, a concept that includes a wide range of home appliances and ICT devices, such as TVs, fridges, washing machines or dishwashers.
What does this mean in practice?
When buying a new TV, a consumer could compare not only the energy efficiency of different brands and models, but also how easy they are to repair or how long they generally last. This additional information would, in turn, steer customers towards truly efficient and durable products.
The EN 4555x series also has the potential to give policy-makers and future standardisers a powerful tool to understand which design and service provisions could help extend product lifetime or support the systematic inclusion of recycled material in products, among others.
Involved from A to Z
ECOS was actively involved in the process of drafting of these standards from beginning to end: we actively participated in the debate for several years, which included, among other things, two failed standardisation requests.
It took more than three years to develop the standards, and we tirelessly helped draft nearly all them, always making sure the environmental ambition of the standards was as high as possible, and making sure that ambition was not sacrificed for commercial interests.
Is our work done?
The next challenge now lies in developing additional details in how to adapt the methods to each individual group of products. Measuring durability in a washing machine might be different to doing it for a laptop, for example. Discussions are already ongoing in the CEN-CENELEC technical committee TC 59X for adapting the norms to household appliances.
At the same time, the standardiser for ICT, ETSI, is looking into translating the horizontal standards to telecom devices such as laptops and smartphones.
As always, ECOS will be there, every step of the way!
Check the full list of new standards EN 4555X
- EN 45552:2020 ‘General method for the assessment of the durability of energy-related products’
- EN 45553:2020 ‘General method for the assessment of the ability to remanufacture energy-related products’
- EN 45554:2020 ‘General methods for the assessment of the ability to repair, reuse and upgrade energy-related products’
- EN 45555:2019 ‘General methods for assessing the recyclability and recoverability of energy-related products’
- EN 45556:2019 ‘General method for assessing the proportion of reused components in energy-related products’
- EN 45557:2020 ‘General method for assessing the proportion of recycled material content in energy-related products’
- EN 45558:2019 ‘General method to declare the use of critical raw materials in energy-related products’
- EN 45559:2019 ‘Methods for providing information relating to material efficiency aspects of energy-related products’
- TR 45550:2020 ‘Definitions related to material efficiency’