Review and Analysis of Ecodesign Directive Implementing Measures: Product Regulations Shifting from Energy Efficiency towards a Circular Economy
The EU Ecodesign Directive was introduced as a framework to improve the environmental impact of energy-using and later energy-related products. From the beginning, the directive offered the possibility to consider not only the energy consumption of a product during its use phase, but a wider range of environmental aspects throughout the life cycle of a product, including circular economy aspects. We developed a circular economy taxonomy and analysed the coverage of functional and informational circular economy requirements in the 27 product groups regulated by ecodesign implementing measures from 2008 until 2021 by performing a content and keyword analysis of the legislative texts of 30 implementing measures and 16 amendments or repeals. We found circular economy requirements in 75% of currently regulated product groups and an increase in circular economy requirements over time and in particular in the legislations published in 2019. We found lighting products to be outliers, with many circular economy requirements early on and a focus on durability. For white goods, the focus was found to be on repairability requirements.