New European Union Ecolabel Criteria for Bed Mattresses
On June 23, 2014, the European Commission adopted a decision establishing new ecological criteria for awarding the EU Ecolabel certification for bed mattresses (Decision).1
EU Ecological guidance already existed based on Regulation 66/2010, which required the establishment of criteria according to product groups. Specifying criteria for particular product groups is part of the EU Ecolabel and Green Public Procurement mechanisms that have been introduced to encourage the production of more environmentally friendly products and services. Therefore, pursuant to Regulation 66/201, the Commission Decision 2009/598/EC initially established the ecological criteria and the related assessment and verification requirements for bed mattresses, which were valid until June 30, 2014.
The EU Ecolabel is awarded through an application process in which the applicant must demonstrate that its product meets the criteria specified for the relevant product group. Successful applicants are allowed to use the EU Ecolabel logo and advertise their product as having been awarded the EU Ecolabel.
Since the establishment of the EU Ecolabel, the number of mattress manufacturers producing Ecolabel products has been relatively low. However, due to the increase in the production of ‘green’ mattresses,2 the Commission considered it appropriate to modify the scope of the product group and to establish a revised set of criteria, so that the EU Ecolabel for mattresses will properly reflect the present state-of-the-art mattress technology and account for recent innovations (for instance, the introduction of foam technologies and the use of nanotechnologies).3
The new criteria aimed at using materials produced in a more sustainable way (considering a life-cycle analysis approach), including limiting the use of hazardous compounds, the levels of hazardous residues and the contribution of mattresses to indoor air pollution as well as promoting a durable and high-quality product that is easy to disassemble and repair.4
The Decision replaces the former EU Ecolabel mattress Decision of 2009. The new criteria should be valid for four years as of June 23, 2014. However, a transitional period is permitted for producers whose products have been awarded the EU Ecolabel for bed mattresses based on the former Decision. Ecolabel licenses awarded in accordance with the old criteria may be used through June 13, 2015. This gives such producers sufficient time to adapt their products to the new Decision.
1 Commission Decision of June 23, 2014 establishing the ecological criteria for the award of the EU Ecolabel for bed mattresses, 2014/391/EU.
2 Revision of the EU Ecolabel Criteria for Bed Mattresses, Draft Background Report and Proposal for Criteria Revision, Updated Working Document for the Revision of the EU Ecolabel Criteria for Bed Mattresses, August 2012, paragraph 8.
3 Revision of the EU Ecolabel Criteria for Bed Mattresses, Draft Background Report and Proposal for Criteria Revision, Updated Working Document for the Revision of the EU Ecolabel Criteria for Bed Mattresses, August 2012, paragraph 3.7.
4 Commission Decision 2014/391/EU, recital 5.