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European environmental bodies call for reuse legislation

Friends of the Earth, the European Environmental Bureau and other ‘green’ organisations have urged EU-wide policies to encourage greater durability and reparability in product design.

The groups, led by the European platform known as Rreuse, have produced a manifesto, Sustainable consumption and production: improving product durability and reparability, which makes a number of proposals focused on product producers, including:

  • obliging manufacturers to provide independent reuse and repair organisations to ensure the full functioning and serviceability of their products over their expected lifespan
  • working with manufacturers and EU regulatory parties to ensure that consumables such as batteries are adhesive-free and easily replaced with common, non-proprietary tools
  • design requirements ensuring products are guaranteed a minimum lifespan
  • widely available and affordable spare parts for a number of years after the final batch of a product is made
  • a system to rate the durability and reparability of products and establish standards to measure them
  • lower taxes on repair service activities and increased taxes on resource-intensive and single-use products

The European Rreuse platform represents social enterprises that are active in reuse, repair and recycling, with a combined workforce of more than 130,000 people.

In March, the body issued a document calling for the European Commission to include greater provisions for reuse in its upcoming circular economy (CE) package.

A consultation for the CE proposals has been launched, inviting citizens, public authorities, businesses and all other interested governmental and non-governmental parties to submit their views.

Jane Stephenson, chief executive of environmental consultancy Resource Futures, recently called in MRW for similar implementation of reuse policy in the UK.

The full list of supporting bodies for the manifesto:

  • European Environmental Citizens’ Organisation
  • European Environmental Bureau
  • Friends of the Earth Europe
  • Ifixit
  • Rreuse
  • Repair Café Foundation
  • Zero Waste Europe

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