EU eco-labelling revised for mattresses, paint and paper

New criteria for eco-labelled products have been approved by the European Commission. Paint is now allowed to contain only 38 grams per metre squared of titanium dioxide, a drop of 2 grams from previous limits. Bed mattresses can no longer contain organic tin compounds in their fillers, and copying paper must now be sourced by at least 10% from certified sustainable forests, where virgin wood is used.

Strict guidelines already cover the ingredients for paints, including emissions from volatile compounds and end waste products. Performance criteria are also specified, such as spreading rates and resistance to water. The manufacturing process and pulp materials for copying paper are similarly regulated, with limits on emissions of sulphur and nitrous oxides. Eco-labelled bed mattresses have limits on the amount of formaldehyde they can emit as well as their heavy metal and chemical content.

Ecolabelling was brought in to encourage companies to develop greener products. The label is awarded only to those products with the lowest environmental impact in a product range. The scheme is shortly to be extended to tourist accommodation to encourage eco-friendly tourism.

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