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European Commission introduces ecolabel for footwear
12
Aug '09
The European Commission; vide decision 2009/563/EC established the ecological criteria for the award of the community ecolabel for footwear. Many of the countries selling footwear may have already been using the Community ecolabel on their exports of footwear to the European Union.

The Commission has carried out a review of the existing criteria, and decided to not only modify the definition of the product group but also to establish new criteria. The new Decision shall be valid for four years.

The new decision emphasizes on the fact that the product group "footwear" will comprise all articles of clothing designed to protect or cover the foot, with a fixed outer sole which comes into contact with the ground.

Moreover, in order to fall within this product group, footwear shall not contain any electric or electronic components. Footwear exported to the EU footwear must comply with the criteria set out in the annexure to the new decision, in order to be awarded the Community ecolabel.

The main aim of this decision is to limit the levels of toxic residues and emissions of volatile organic compounds. For shoes made of leather, suppliers will have to ensure that there is no Chromium VI, by providing a test report using test method EN ISO 17075 (detection limit 3 parts per million, "ppm").

There must also be no arsenic, cadmium and lead in raw materials used for the production of the footwear and testing will also have to be carried out accordingly. Even for, textile components of footwear, the amount of formaldehyde must be non-detectable.

For leather components this may be no more than 150 ppm and for tanning of hides and skins, there are limits laid down to water consumption too.

In the case of hazardous substances, it does not allow pentachlorophenol and tetrachlorophenol to be used, and no azo dyes may be used. A number of N-Nitrosamines must, also, not be detected in rubber.

The decision also carries requirements regarding packaging. Where cardboard boxes are used, they must be made of 100% recyclable materials and where plastic bags are used, they must be made of at least 75% recyclable material or they must be biodegradable or compostable.

Information needs to be supplied with the product, both on how better to safeguard the environment, as well as on how to receive more information on the EU Ecolabel.

Click here to view the Commission Decision.

European Commission

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