Tougher criteria agreed for EU Ecolabel

More stringent criteria for washing machines and refrigerators that sport the EU Ecolabel are on their way. Energy efficiency requirements have been increased and brominated flame retardants have been banned.

The increased energy efficiency requirements are the most important change, according to a member of the EU Ecolabel team. “In order to get the EU ecolabel, your machine will have to be significantly better than the A class in the energy label,” a spokesperson of the EU Ecolabel team told edie. “Very few refrigerators and no washing machines at the moment can meet these requirements.”

The new energy efficiency requirements are seen as a way of encouraging manufacturers to improve their machines’ standards. According to the new criteria, washing machines that attain the EU Ecolabel must achieve an energy use per hour of less than 0.175kW per kilogram wash. Refrigerators must now achieve an energy efficiency index of less than 42%.

Other additions to the EU Ecolabel criteria for washing machines include spin drying efficiency, spinning noise limits, the offer by manufacturers to take back used machines for recycling, and other measures.

In the case of both washing machines and refrigerators, a ban on brominated flame retardants in plastic components weighing at least 25g has been agreed.

“All member states voted in favour of the draft proposal except the UK, which abstained,” Charles Cox of the UK Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions told edie. The UK abstained because it believes the information regarding the harmful effects of flame retardants is incomplete (see related story).

“There is still controversy regarding the effects of flame retardants. The UK proposed a meeting about flame retardants, which will take place in November,” said Cox. “The issue needs to be thrashed out separately.”

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