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DETERGENTS: COMMISSION AND INDUSTRY AGREE ON VOLUNTARY CODE OF CONDUCT

Summary:

The European detergents industry has pledged to reduce the amount of energy used in washing, the consumption of household laundry detergents, the consumption of packaging for such products, and to cut the use of poorly biodegradable ingredients in such products. These commitments are set out in a Code of good environmental practice proposed by AISE, the Association Internationale de la Savonnerie, de la D tergence et des Produits d'entretien, and taken up in a Recommendation due to be adopted by the European Commission on July 22.

The industry proposal has been examined and developed further by experts from European Commission Directorate-Generals III (Industry) and XI (Environment). A study conducted by an independent body, the United Kingdom's Water Research Centre, also highlighted the potential benefits of a Code of good practice, notably a reduction in several pollutants and the encouragement of a change in consumer behaviour. Experts believe the proposed measures should lead to:

- a 10% reduction within five years in the use of certain chemicals, with a comparable decline in production and the transportation and processing of chemicals by sewage works;

- a 10% reduction in the use of packaging material, and consequently in the production and transportation of packaging waste;

- a reduction in the direct use of energy, with the environmental benefits of energy conservation, less use of fuels and less air pollution and solid waste emissions from power stations;

- less indirect use of energy due to reduced production and transportation;

- a 10% reduction in the use of poorly biodegradable products over five years, thus leaving less chemicals in the environment.

The Code of good environmental practice essentially concerns the production and use of household laundry detergents. Participating firms will pledge voluntarily to:

- reduce by 5% by 2002 compared with 1996, the total amount of energy used per wash cycle for products intended for washing domestic laundry;

- reduce by 10% by 2002 compared with 1996 per capita consumption in the EU of the products in question;

- reduce by 10% by 2002 compared with 1996 per capita consumption of primary and secondary packaging of the product group in question;

- reduce by 5% by 2002 compared with 1996 the content of all poorly biodegradable ingredients.

The Code further stipulates that consumers should be provided with information designed to encourage the correct use of household laundry detergents. In order to monitor compliance with the Code, statistics

will be collected in the Member States by an outside, independent organisation chosen by the AISE. Findings will be reported to the European Commission and national authorities. Every two years, the European Commission will hold consultations with the Member States, the AISE and the Consumer Committee on the state of implementation of the recommendation and will make this information publicly available.

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Publication:Europe Environment
Article Type:Article
Geographic Code:4E
Date:Jul 21, 1998
Words:455
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