Tuesday 8 January 2013

The EU Ecolabel Criteria for Sanitary Products

Mauro Cordella, Scientific Officer, European Commission, JRC-IPTS, Seville (Spain) described the EC 66/2010 ecolabel regulation as an instrument to promote the most environmentally friendly 10-20% of products in a category. The EC would analyse products for their environmental impact, review results with the stakeholders and develop criteria for labelling.  The LCA methods used would include PEF, Envirodec and BPX 30-323.

The EU absorbent hygiene products category consumed about 1.7 million tonnes of material and was worth €11bn in 2011. 90% of products were produced and consumed in the EU27 and baby diapers were the biggest product.  The EC aim was to identify “hot-spots” in the diaper LCA and hence options for reducing their impact.  So far it appeared that the raw materials used for diapers were the main impact contributors but end-of-life impacts were important also, with weight reduction and diversion from landfill being key improvements to be sought.  Controlled materials such as adhesives, dyes/inks and fragrances are under investigation.

Longer term, the EC would commit to impact improvement targets (reduction by X% in Y years) and setting thresholds defining the maximum allowed impact of a product.

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