Federal Environment Ministry advocates product longevity at start of European Week for Waste Reduction
The number of electrical appliances in German households is growing. Regardless of how many can be repaired, a large number of these appliances end up in the bin and are often not properly disposed of. At the official launch of this year's European Week for Waste Reduction, Florian Pronold, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry, advocated product longevity: "It pays to repair. It is possible to give objects a new life by repairing them as opposed to throwing them away. This way, everyone can contribute to reducing waste volumes, saving natural resources and taking climate action."
The Federal Environment Ministry has, for a long time, strongly supported increasing the life span of products used on a daily basis, which is in line with a general trend in German society. Florian Pronold said: "Many consumers are showing an encouraging change of mindset. It is becoming increasingly popular to meet up in repair cafés, or search for second-hand bargains at flea markets or online. At the same time, products need to be made more durable again. For instance, if a battery or a valve is broken, this should not prompt the owner to throw out the entire appliance."
To be specific, the Federal Environment Ministry is pushing Brussels to adapt the European Ecodesign Directive. It already contains minimum requirements for energy consumption and the durability of components in relevant appliances such as vacuum cleaners and coffee machines.
Products with the Blue Angel label, the Federal Government's eco label, already go beyond the required legal standards. According to the label's requirements, notebook and mobile phone components should be robust, long-lasting and, if possible, easy to exchange. This also applies to wood and upholstered furniture. The amendment to the Packaging Act also fosters waste avoidance. In future, manufacturers are encouraged to design packaging that can be recycled more easily and in full.
About the European Week for Waste Reduction
The motto of this year's European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) from 18 to 26 November is "Giving objects a new life – encouraging repair in Germany". EWWR is Europe's biggest communication campaign on waste avoidance and reuse. Its focus is on showcasing practical ways out of the "throw-away society". The week aims to raise awareness among all Europeans to be more mindful in their consumption of appliances and resources to avoid waste where possible. Germany finances the campaign with funds from the European Climate Initiative. The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) is the competent partner. Since 2014, the German association of local utilities (VKU, Verband kommunaler Unternehmen) has been coordinating the campaign week. The Federal Environment Ministry is the EWWR's official partner.