The obligation to inform the consumer about the environmental qualities and characteristics is imposed on the producers of the products covered by the article 13 of AGEC Law and codified in article R 541-221 of the environment code, according to their turnover and the number of sales units of these products that they have placed on the national market.
It mainly applies to products covered by an extended producer responsibility chain. Consumer information also extends to the application of bonuses or penalties applied to the product in application of the environmental performance criteria set up by the eco organisations.
The Decree n° 2022-748 of April 29th adopted in application of article 13 regulates consumer information by specifying for each product concerned the nature of the information that should be provided the mention that should appear on the product if necessary.
The repairability of electrical and electronic devices in the form of a repairability index and in 2024 a durability index. To date, nine product families are affected by this obligation.
The rate of recycled material incorporated into the product and the packaging must also be given in the form of the statement “product/packaging comprising at least [%] of recycled materials”
The recyclability of the product and packaging is made available to the consumer under the statement “mostly recyclable product/packaging”. Recyclability is characterized by the following five points:
1° The ability to be effectively collected at the scale of the territory, via the access of the population to local collection points;
2° The ability to be sorted, i.e oriented towards the recycling channels in order to be recycled;
3° The absence of elements or substances disturbing the sorting, recycling or limiting the use of the recycled material;
4° The ability for the recycled material produced by the recycling processes implemented to represent more than 50% by mass of the waste collected;
5° The ability to be recycled on an industrial scale and in practice, in particular via a guarantee that the quality of the recycled material obtained is sufficient to guarantee the sustainability of outlets, and that the recycling sector can justify a good ability to support products that can integrate with it.
For electrical and electronic devices, the producer must communicate on the presence of rare earths and precious metals. The information must be given either in the form “contains at least [X milligrams] of precious metals/rare earths” or by the indication of the detail of each precious metal/rare earth present, expressed in minimum mass in the same unit.
Consumer information relating to the presence of a dangerous substance applies when it is present in a concentration greater than 0.1% by mass percentage in a substance, mixture or article, within the meaning of points 1,2 and 3 of article 3 of the REACh regulation. This information is expressed in the form of the statement “contains a dangerous substance” or “contains a substance of very high concern” when the latter is contained in the list mentioned in paragraph 1 of article 59 of the REACh regulation. These substances are indicated in Decree 2021-1285 of October 1, 2021. Decree No. 2021-1110 of August 23, 2021 completes this requirement with an obligation to communicate on the presence of endocrine disruptors.
The softlines sector is particularly targeted by two requirements. First, traceability must be established by the geographical indication of the country where each of the following operations is mainly carried out, when they exist:
2° Dyeing and printing
3° The confection
2° The assembly;
3° The finish.
This information is expressed in the form of the mention, for each step, of the country where it was carried out. Finally, the presence of microplastics must be indicated when the proportion of synthetic fibers is greater than 50%. It is expressed in the form of the statement “releases plastic microfibers into the environment during washing”.
Packaging is also affected by this decree since producers must indicate the possibilities of reuse in the form of the words “reusable packaging” or “refillable packaging”. In addition, the compostability of packaging must also be communicated according to the procedures specified by the Order of March 15, 2022.
Finally, it is forbidden to include on a new product or packaging intended for the consumer, the mentions “biodegradable”, “respectful of the environment” or any other equivalent environmental claim.
This information must be made available “on a dedicated website or web page including a sheet entitled “product sheet relating to environmental qualities and characteristics” so that the consumer has quick access to the information (at the time of purchase and thereafter). Automated data extraction should also be easily achievable.
The presence of hazardous substances can also be communicated via the Scan4chem application. This application is associated with the voluntary contribution database for companies on substances of very high concern present in their products created within the framework of the European LIFE program.The government has made available two FAQs to help marketers and consumers meet the requirements of this decree.
Une note sur l'Auteure
Ingénieure Chimie et Environment
TÜV SÜD France
Middle East and Africa