Decree 2022-748 under the French Anti-Waste for a Circular Economy law (AGEC) obliges all producers, importers and dealers of waste generating products in France to showcase environmental qualities and characteristics of packaging and products.
A new French environmental labeling regulation passed on the 29th of April, 2022. Decree 2022-748, which falls under the French Anti-Waste for a Circular Economy Law (AGEC), is especially important for all producers, importers, and dealers, including e-commerce platforms selling products in France. All businesses selling in France will be obliged to showcase environmental qualities and characteristics of the packaging and products they sell. This article covers:
What is Decree 2022-748 of the French anti-waste law?
Decree 2022-748 under the French Anti-waste for a Circular Economy Law (AGEC) was created with the intention to improve information transparency on waste generating products and to promote circularity of those products. According to the French Government:
The environmental qualities and characteristics in question have been established by analyzing typical product life cycles. Decree 2022-748 makes it mandatory for this information to be made available for customers. According to article R541-222 of the environmental code, producers, importers, and any marketer of the products mentioned in article R541-221 (which are also listed later in this article), must provide the consumer at the time of purchase with information that includes product environmental qualities and characteristics. This information must be provided free of charge and any related costs must be paid by the producer. Not surprisingly, this information must be provided in French.
While all waste generating products will need to provide these new, mandatory information points, Article R541-221 offers examples of the kinds of products that must provide this information. The decrees specify exactly what is necessary for which products and industries. That information is extensive and more information about this topic is provided later in this article.
Article R541-222 states that all of the mandatory product information related to environmental qualities and characteristics must be made available on a dedicated website or web page. This information should be titled: “fiche produit relative aux qualités et caractéristiques environnementales”/“product sheet relating to the qualities and environmental characteristics”.
Article L541-9-1 more loosely refers to this requirement in stating that the relevant product data must be made available electronically, in a format that is “easily reusable, and usable by an automated processing system in aggregated form.” The advised functional solution for this requirement is QR codes.
Providing the required information available through online data may seem obvious. There are at least two reasons why information storage online is required and beneficial:
Mandatory product information must be made available for up to two years after the last produced product of its kind has been available for sale. Online storage is ideal for this requirement as it saves the need for printed material and is available on demand for as long as necessary.
Mandatory product information must be made available for “automated processing of the information presented”. Access to product information through an automated system is typically handled by a data carrier, like RFID/NFC or a QR code. The availability and cost of these data carriers makes it relatively inexpensive and easy for companies to provide product associated information electronically.
The French government is also taking an aggressive stance on a common claim made on consumer products. Article R541-223 of decree 2022-748 states that mentioning “biodégradable” (biodegradable), “respectueux de l’environnement” (respectful to the environment) or any other comparable environmental claim will be strictly forbidden.
French Decree 2022-748 and the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR)
Decree 2022-748 has a closely overlapping scheme when compared with the EU wide Ecodesign regulations. In both regulations, the information conceived is mostly tied to environmental qualities, with the main goal being an increase in sustainability and recyclability or circularity. The common technical component between the two regulations is the requirement for a government regulated and commonly accessible repository for mandatory product information. This is required for all details required by the E.U. wide ESPR, but is only specified as necessary in France for items that include hazardous substances. Details for each product and industry should be investigated further, depending on the relevance to your company.
When will Decree 2022-748 go into effect?
Decree 2022-748 came into effect already on March 1st, 2022, but according to the French government, products and packaging have a stock run off period until January 1st, 2023. Environmental label requirements are being enforced progressively over the coming years, starting with the biggest companies and working down to SME’s and other small businesses:
Note that on January 1st, 2024, the following product categories must comply with the respective regulations stated in decree 2022-748:
Building products and materials
motor vehicles: Passenger cars, vans, motorbikes, quads
What industries will be affected by AGEC law? How should each industry comply?
Most, if not all, industries are affected by the new environmental labeling law. Decree 2022-748 concerns all producers, importers, and dealers (including e-commerce) of waste generating products and packaging. Not every industry or product type has the same set standards to comply with, but the consequences of non-compliance can be significant. Article L. 541-10-3 states the method for calculating fines:
In total, Decree 2022-748 has expressed 11 industry specific regulations for environmental labeling requirements:
Repairability and durability
Industries to comply: Electrical and electronic equipment
The first point of compliance communicated in section 1 of Decree 2022-748 is a repairability index added to the product in accordance with the information given in article L541-9-2. According to article L541-9-2, producers, importers and distributors of electrical and electronic goods have to digitally showcase a repairability index of the product at hand. This index aims to score the product’s sustainability from 1 to 10, according to the criteria shown in article R541-214 . This must be brought to consumers’ attention at the point of purchase.
From January 1st, 2024, producers, importers and distributors of electrical and electronic goods are required to showcase a durability index and the parameters to establish it. According to article L541-9-2, this index includes new criteria such as the robustness of the product, or it replaces the already existing repairability index, although no further information is given on the exact criteria as of the writing of this article. You’ll want to check the latest decree changes to be sure.
Industries affected: packaging, all
Decree 2022-748 states that consumer information regarding packaging compostability must be made available on the packaging at the point of purchase. If the packaging is made from compostable materials, producers, importers and distributors are obliged to mention a statement: “emballage compostable” (compostable packaging).
Industries affected: Packaging, printed paper, electrical and electronic equipment, batteries and accumulators (such as rechargeable electrical power storage), containers of chemical products, furniture, textile products (clothing & footwear), sports and leisure items, DIY equipment, motor vehicles.
According to section 1 of Decree 2022-748, companies that fall under this regulation must express a statement containing the percentage amount of recycled material in the form: “produit comportant au moins [%] de matières recyclées” (product comprising of at least [%] recycled materials).
Use of renewable resources
Industries affected: construction products subject to environmental declaration
To be in compliance with the labeling requirements from Decree 2022-748, companies affected by this regulation must make information on use of renewable resources available to consumers at the time of purchase. The information conceived must be in line with the environmental declaration under article R. 171-17 of the construction and housing code. This is an extensive list of 16 labeling requirements. Representatives from the affected industries are advised to read thoroughly through these materials to maintain or develop compliance.
Possibility of re-use
Affected industries: Packaging
According to decree 2022-748, consumer information on the possibility of packaging reuse must be made available at the point of purchase. Packaging that is considered reusable should contain a statement: “emballage réemployable” (reuseable packaging) or “emballage rechargeable” (refillable packaging)
Industries affected: Packaging, printed paper, electrical and electronic equipment, batteries and accumulators, containers of chemical products, furniture, textile products (clothing & footwear), sports and leisure items, toys, DIY equipment, motor vehicles
According to Decree 2022-748, the recyclability and amount of recycled material must be conveyed to be in line with the environmental labeling laws.
Recyclability is understood as “being the effective recycling capacity of waste from similar or identical products.” The recyclability of a product is assessed using five criteria:
The ability to be efficiently collected
The ability to be sorted in recycling channels
The absence of material limiting recycling
That the recycled material is greater than 50% of the total waste collected
The ability to be recycled on an industrial scale
The recyclability is calculated by grouping the assessment criteria to get a final score on recyclability.
Companies are required to include a statement on the recyclability of the packaging:
The information on recyclability must be made available to consumers in the form: “produit / emballage majoritairement recyclable.” (mostly recyclable product / packaging)
If more than 95% of a product is made from recycled material, the company may mention “produit entièrement recyclable” (fully recycled product).
If product packaging is recycled from the same or similar materials, the company may mention “produit / emballage recyclable en un produit / emballage de même nature (product / packaging recycled from product /packaging of same nature)
Presence of precious materials
Industries affected: Electrical and electronic equipment, motor vehicles
According to Decree 2022-748, information on the presence of precious metals must be made available to the consumer at the point of purchase. This is mainly in regard to the environmental impact of the extracting conditions of the following metals:
When the amount of any of these metals in a product exceeds a milligram, companies are required to provide a statement on the contents of these materials in the form of:
“contient au moins [X milligrammes] d’or, d’argent, de platine, de palladium” (contains at least [X milligrams] of gold, silver, platinum, palladium)
Presence of rare earth elements
Industries affected: Electrical and electronic equipment, motor vehicles
Similarly to the section above, Decree 2022-748 specifies that the presence of rare earth elements must be made available to the consumer at point of purchase. This includes: scandium, yttrium, lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, lutetium.
As with the above paragraph, when the amount of rare element material used in the product exceeds 1 mg, the presence of these rare elements must be expressed with a statement in the form of: “contient au moins [X milligrammes] de scandium ……. lutécium.” (contains at least [X milligrams] of scandium ….. lutetium)
Industries affected: Substances, mixtures and articles in quantities of more than one tonne per year that are considered hazardous within the scope of points 1, 2 and 3 of article 3 of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 with the exception of medicine.
According to Decree 2022-748, consumer information on products containing a dangerous substance with more than 0.1% concentration by mass must be made available. This information must be made available in accordance with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), which has been in effect since 2006. However, with the implementation of decree748-2022, this information must be stored in a government approved repository as well as made clearly available to the consumer at the point of purchase.
There is an exception to making information available at the point of purchase. Decree 2022-748 argues that substances confirmed or suspected to contain endocrine disruptive properties, will need to provide a statement to the consumers no later than six months after identification of the substance as dangerous. According to Decree 2021-1110, substances mentioned in 1° and 2° of Article R. 5232-19 of the Public Health Code referring to Item L5232-5 must be split into two categories, based on the level of scientific proof:
Confirmed endocrine disruptive
Presumed endocrine disruptive
information on the toxicity of these substances can be made available after purchase, if the endocrine disruptive substance is identified after the purchase.
To comply with decree 2022-748, one of two statements must be applied:
When the relevant dangerous substance is listed in the first paragraph of article 59 of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (page 44) referencing to article 57 (page 43) the statement must contain: “contient une substance extrêmement préoccupante” (Contains a substance of very high concern) alongside with the name of the present hazardous substance.
When the dangerous substance is not listed, the statement: “contient une substance dangereuse” (contains a dangerous substance) must be applied.
There is an exception as to how the information on hazardous materials is made available.
Normally, information associated with the product must be made available on a web page. However, as you’ve read earlier in this article, according to Article 541-222, providing information on dangerous substances can be carried out by means of a dedicated application designated by order of the minister in charge of the environment. This application must convey the dangerous substances in circulation, and showcase which substances are tied to which products. When a web page must be established for at least one other environmental quality, a link to the application designated by the administrating body and conveying the hazardous materials is sufficient, negating the need to state the hazardous materials on the web page, so long as there is a link to said information.
Industries affected: Textile products for clothing, footwear and household linen
Consumer information on traceability must be made available for the products from the affected industries. According to Decree 2022-748, the country where the following operations happen, for ALL materials, must be included:
Dyeing and printing
Finished product assembly
This information is expressed by simply mentioning the country where the operation was undertaken in a step by step format.
Presence of plastic microfibers
Industries affected: Textile products for clothing, footwear, and household linen
Information on the presence of microfibers must be made available to consumers if the proportion of synthetic fibers in the product is more than 50%. According to decree 2022-748, a statement in the form of “rejette des microfibres plastiques dans l’environnement lors du lavage” (releases plastic microfibers into the environment during washing) must be made available to the consumer at the point of purchase.
The best conclusion is that using QR codes on products or product labels in combination with a software system built to satisfy requirements is the most convenient solution for compliance. Of all the industries affected, the fashion, textile, and apparel industry are currently required to disclose the most data. It is very inconvenient and costly to disclose all of the origin and preparation data that is required on a care label or hang tag. QR codes re-directing to a page with disclosure of the data is an obvious best choice for compliance.
Why use QR codes for compliance with Decree 2022-748?
QR codes, more specifically, serialized QR codes, are a favorable data carrier that can be used for compliance with Decree 2022-748. Serialized QR codes contain information associated with a specific product unit: this provides the possibility to track and add data granularly down to a specific product unit. QR codes are designed to showcase data in an online format making them perfectly suitable to the decree requirements. When a QR code is scanned, the scanner is redirected to a web page. This web page contains all the information that needs to be conveyed or can refer to additional pages or applications, even programmatically, as needed.
These are some of the benefits of using QR codes as unique identifiers, in addition to being an ideal tool for compliance within decree 2022-748:
Customization and real time changes
QR codes offer the ability to completely customize landing pages that would contain the environmental characteristics needed for compliance with Decree 2022-748. By using Dynamic QR codes, pages can be updated in real time. Imagine discovering the applicability of new disclosure requirements that would otherwise require recalling products or reprinting labels. This would no longer be necessary with the use of dynamic QR codes.
Mass data association
QR codes offer the ability to associate mass amounts of data with a product. Given that there are so many data points that need to be conveyed, it’s exceptionally inconvenient to disclose all of the required information on a label. Especially in the textiles industry there are many different environmental data sets that need to be made available. QR codes redirecting to a page with all the relevant data is necessary.
Availability of data at the point of purchase (user friendliness)
QR codes are scannable with just about any available smartphone. Decree requirements are that consumers should be able to receive product information at the point of purchase, making this an especially attractive benefit. Barcodes and RFID’s require special applications or equipment and cannot be read by many smartphones out-of-the-box.
QR codes are one of the best value unique identifier data carriers. They integrate with existing packaging or printing process unlike costly physical security features like RFID/NFC.
Value chain and consumer insights
Where it is allowed, QR code scan data offers intelligence from the value chain all the way through consumer scanning behavior.
Easy implementation & printing
Implementation requires only minimal changes to existing label artwork. Digital printers like HP Indigo, flexo, offset, variable, and hybrid printing setups are all suitable for associating QR codes to products and their related environmental qualities information.
There are many different types of QR codes to choose from, each with distinct security and operability attributes. Depending on the QR code, the codes are compatible with digital printers like HP Indigo, flexo, offset, variable, and hybrid printing setups.
Once the initial printing or labeling integration and testing are complete, QR codes can be printed as few or as many times as necessary.
Scantrust has years of experience associating QR codes with products and information databases.
How to use QR codes for Decree 2022-748?
Generate QR codes
Using Scantrust QR code generator
Print on labels
With one of Scantrusts many verified printing partners
Associate information that is required for compliance in cloud
Add information to QR codes via Scantrust APIs, CSV upload features or mobile apps
Track products as it goes through the value chain
Extensive overview of value chain and consumer information with Scantrust Dashboard
Easily disclose compliance data to end consumers via a smartphone scan
Create automated and compliant mobile website using Scantrust landing page builder
Decree 2022-748 is applicable to more industries than not. Using QR codes, companies that sell products in France will discover a favorable solution for compliance despite an extensive requirements list.
If your company needs further advice about being in compliance with Decree 2022-748, we invite you to request a free consultation with a Scantrust solution expert.