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Reducing the environmental impact of laundry detergents

The European Commission has adopted a recommendation for good environmental practice for household laundry detergents as a measure to help reduce their environmental impact. The recommendation is based on a code of conduct proposed by the Association Internationale de la Savon...
The European Commission has adopted a recommendation for good environmental practice for household laundry detergents as a measure to help reduce their environmental impact. The recommendation is based on a code of conduct proposed by the Association Internationale de la Savonnerie, de la Détergence et des Produits d'Entretien (AISE) which represents more than 90% of the European detergents industry.

The following targets are set:

- Reduce by 5% the total amount of energy used per wash cycle by the year 2002, using 1996 as a baseline;
- Reduce by 10% the consumption per capita of household laundry detergents and packaging of these products;
- Decrease by 10% the content of poorly biodegradable organic ingredients for this product group.

The implementation of the code of conduct will be the responsibility of the individual companies with data collection being carried out by an independent auditor. This data will be communicated twice a year to the European Commission and the competent authorities in the Member States.

The code of conduct, which will complement the European Eco-label, was welcomed by the European Commissioner for industry, Mr. Martin Bangemann, who welcomed the combination of the Commission recommendation and the voluntary agreement as a good example of the use of a new instrument in environmental policy. The European Environment Commissioner, Mrs. Ritt Bjerregaard, also welcomed the initiative as a welcome sign of industry's growing concern for the environment.
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