Kitemark to counter throw away society

A label to help consumers identify long-lasting products that are easy to repair has been launched in Austria in a bid to cut waste.

The sustainability label developed by the Austrian Standardization Institute will allow consumers to identify durable electrical and household goods.

Sepp Eisenriegler, one of the label's founding fathers, told edie: "More and more resources are wasted for products with shorter and shorter life cycles. We need to save resources for coming generations.

"To reach this goal we have chosen electrical and electronic goods, which have the strongest impact on the household waste growth. We are confronted with more and more throw-away-products which cannot be repaired at reasonable costs.

"The housing of items such as electrical tooth brushes cannot be opened to be repaired without destroying the product; spare parts and wiring diagrams are not available."

Among the criteria for the label are the availability of a construction plan, how easily the outer housing can be opened without breaking it and the absence of any need for special tools for repair.

If the label launched the end of June is successful in the Austria it could be rolled out across Europe.

"This will be when world wide producers will take our idea seriously and increase the production of product types worth labelling," said Mr Eisenriegler.

"The difference will be less resources and waste in production. It is an important contribution towards sustainable consumption."

He says it is cheaper for consumers to use durable products which can be repaired at reasonable prices to extend their life even if they may be more expensive at the point of purchase.

Demand for the label launched is expected to grow as manufacturers seek to capitalise on an increasingly lucrative market for eco-products.

So far the label has been applied to four products, including two types of Eudora washing machines.

David Gibbs



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