Latest Developments in the European Regulations on Eco Design

The compliance world was shaken up in 2005 with the realization that the European Union was enacting legislation that would require manufacturers wishing to sell their electrical or electronic products in the EU to reduce the environmental impact of these products through design. The practice of eco design was to be enshrined in Law and many companies who would not normally have considered the environmental impact of their products now faced the prospect of being legally obliged to do so. Since the introduction of this legislation, in the form of the Energy using Products Directive, industry has been monitoring its phased implementation to see to what degree the requirements will affect their designs. Following a summary of the scope and major features of the legislation, this article will review the latest developments in the implementation process and give an overview of the emerging design requirements. It will go on to discuss the important areas of conformity assessment, market surveillance and enforcement and conclude by looking at possible future developments and discuss to what degree the legislation fulfils the goal of reducing environmental impacts.