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Ecodesign: MEErP - study reports on material efficiency

The outcomes of the study on the material-efficiency for the Ecodesign Methodology (MEErP) have just been published. The results are available on the Commission (DG ENTR) website at this link.

The Commission website states that "the study concluded that the methodology is fit for purpose, and suggested that the following selected and tested material efficiency parameters should be added: recyclability benefit rates, recycled content, lifetime, and a critical raw material index, enabling further analyses of material efficiency aspects in products".

The study report is accompanied by the following documents:

  • Guidance document for analysing material efficiency in ErP (it explains the new features and how they can be used, in order to assess material efficiency when undertaking Ecodesign preparatory studies);
  • Test report on the updated methodology on two case studies: TV and washing machines;
  • EcoReport Calculations’ template (updated version of the MEErP EcoReport Tool).

The most significant and suitable material efficiency parameters identified are:

  1. Recyclability benefit rates (describing the "potential output" for future recycling, based on a formula considering the recyclable mass per material and its recycling rate and a down-cycling index);
  2. Recycled content (describing the "input" of materials with origin on waste, based on new data sets for materials);
  3. Lifetime (a mechanism to display impacts not only as a total over the whole lifespan, but also per year of use, allowing an easier comparison of products with different lifetimes or analysing the effect of lifetime extension);
  4. Critical Raw Material Index (a tool to analyse products including critical raw materials to display differences between different product designs and improvement options).

In addition, the study establishes a list of materials used in ErP that "can be considered as priorityderived from their environmental impacts. This list is formulated so that it help to identify relevant material inefficiencies that could occur in the life cycle of ErPs being addressed. However, this is not a "closed" list, and the relevant material issues of significance are very product- or sector-dependent. For this reason, the priority list has been designed to function in a guidance role".