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Environmental Information in Instructions for Use of Consumer Products

image of Environmental Information in Instructions for Use of Consumer Products

The European Union has highlighted the issue of environmentally sound use of products in the context of Integrated Product Policy, IPP. Accordingly, consumers should have easy access to understandable, relevant and credible environmental information. Information about product characteristics is available in different forms and sources, but in many cases, relevant environmental information is not available on the product itself. The study described in this report was initiated in order to produce information on the state of user instructions regarding environmental information. User manuals of passenger cars and refrigerators were focused on, examining the advice which could diminish the harmful environmental effects of the use of these products. Other studied products included such durable products as textiles and furniture as well as such consumables as cleaning chemicals and recyclable paper products. The study raised many ideas about actions that could promote the status and 'eco-development' of instructions for use.

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Introduction

Environmental effects during the use of a product can be significant compared to the impacts of the whole life-cycle, for example in the case of cars and electrical devices, which use fuels or electricity and may contain hazardous chemicals. It is important that the user gets advice on the proper use of such products. Instructions for use serve as evident source of such information, and they should, according to the Standard IEC 62079 present all the information that is needed for safe and proper use of the product, including such aspects as proper waste handling and saving of energy and other resources. However, it is evident that in most cases this information could be improved considerably.

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