Longer-lasting white goods cut environmental impacts by 30% – study

Longer-lasting white goods cut environmental impacts by 30% – study

The benefits of making large household electrical goods last longer have been underlined by a new report carried out for the European Commission.

The research carried out in preparation for an update to the European Commission’s Ecodesign rules looks at the resource savings and reduction in harmful environmental impacts that can be made by extending the life of dishwashers, and making them easier to repair and eventually recycle.

The report says that improvement of the design for repairing and the extension of the warranty time of key components of dishwashers could reduce some life cycle environmental impacts by up to 30% including abiotic depletion of elements (ADPel), freshwater eutrophication and ecotoxicity.

Making copper and precious metal components easier to extract during the recycling phase could save 1.031 tonnes of copper, 247 kg of silver, 50 kg of gold and 27 kg of palladium, which will have a potential economic benefit of 6.3 to 6.6 million € according to the researchers.

The recommendations include improving the reparability of some key components (including the availability of spare parts) and the setting of a minimum 2 years warranty for some key components (e.g. pumps, electronics, heating system and door panels).

EU policy has largely focussed on energy efficiency of household appliances in recent years. But product durability and repairability has declined. Rreuse, together with other groups, is calling for durability and repairabilty to be a key component of future Ecodesign criteria. 

  • A law published last year in France obliges product retailers to inform the customer about how long spare parts will be available for the products they buy. Read more…
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