Here is how CSE grouped countries on product design and performance

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Addressing product design and performance is critical for transitioning away from plastic pollution


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Product design and performance plays a pivotal role in shaping the environmental impact of plastic products throughout their life cycles.

Product design involves deliberate planning and creation aimed at reducing environmental impacts from inception to disposal. Sustainable design entails selecting materials wisely and considering factors like recyclability, durability and end-of-life options early in development. Key strategies include opting for environmentally preferable materials, designing for recyclability with mono-materials or compatible composites, minimising packaging waste, and promoting durability to extend product lifespan. Innovative concepts such as modular or repairable designs further enhance resource efficiency and sustainability.

Concurrently, product performance focuses on functional characteristics and quality, balancing effectiveness with environmental considerations. Sustainable performance entails optimising functionality while minimising negative impacts like energy consumption and GHG emissions. It involves designing energy-efficient products, reducing emissions throughout the product life cycle, and facilitating environmentally sound disposal or recycling at end-of-life stages. By ensuring that products meet performance requirements and user expectations sustainably, manufacturers can mitigate the environmental footprint associated with plastic production and use.

Addressing product design and performance is critical for transitioning away from plastic pollution. By integrating sustainable design principles and optimising product performance, stakeholders can advance towards circular economy models that prioritise resource efficiency, waste reduction and environmental stewardship. This holistic approach aligns with broader sustainability goals and underscores the importance of responsible product design in mitigating the adverse impacts of plastic pollution on ecosystems and human health.

The European Union and African group have agreed to most of the provision, with the latter requesting for intersessional work to gain more clarity on the issue.

India and the US have agreed to focus on increasing recyclability by taking national actions and voluntary measures, taking into account international standards. Japan expressed that it is difficult to set a uniform global design standard and aligned with India and the US to have national regulations to address the issue of product design. Japan agreed to sustainable design and performance criteria but disagreed to use regulatory measures for implementation of the provision at a national level.

Iran has disagreed to reduce the use of primary plastic polymers to create a better product design or performance, while Brazil has expressed that minimum product design criteria cannot be used as a trade barrier. Russia mentioned that product design is specifically linked to recyclability and simplification of the composition to facilitate recycling and hence has suggested appropriate use of secondary/recycled plastics determinded at national levels.

To download the whole report, click here.

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