80 percent of the environmental impact of products is determined at their design stage, and design choices “directly impact the complexity and economics of after-use processes”. In order to fulfil ecodesign criteria, durability, reparability and recyclability requirements need to be established and relations between the manufacturing and the waste and resource industry must be facilitated and intensified.
Given the increasing complexity of consumer goods, FEAD identifies an urgent need to link the impact of ecodesign choices to the complexity and cost-efficiency of their end-of-life treatment. For instance, if technical and economic considerations are taken into account, not all plastic waste is fully recyclable. Having that in mind, there is still an abundance of plastic which is difficult to recycle (e.g. mixed polymers, contaminated plastics, and black plastics). Plastic waste is not a homogeneous material and the possibility to reuse, recycle and recover depends heavily on its composition.
Ecodesign strategies are needed to ensure better coherence between the manufacturing and waste management processes to prevent waste where possible and to increase the quantity and quality of recyclates.
To ensure the fruition of ecodesign and therefore, of the circular economy, FEAD has issued a positon paper highlighting seven key points for success.