Ecodesign of Products

At a Glance

Founded in 1995 around the sale of a broken item, eBay has long been home to a large variety of offers, from brand new to second-hand, refurbished goods as well as repair parts. According to an eBay study released last November 2021, 78% of European small business sellers using our marketplace have sold non-new items, with second-hand and refurbished items representing 52% of their sales. As the EU proceeds to revise and create new rules in order to meet the objectives of the EU Green Deal and rise to the challenge of curbing climate change, eBay shares its views so that millions of consumers and businesses can prolong the life of goods and empower the circular economy.


  • Adopt a balanced new ecodesign framework that acknowledges the specificities of second-hand products
  • Exclude from the scope works of art, collectors' items, antiques, unique or handmade products
  • Improve cooperation with authorities on sustainable products

Issue in Detail

1. Adopt a balanced legal framework that recognizes the specificities of second-hand products 

The EU institutions are negotiating a new Regulation establishing a framework for setting ecodesign requirements for sustainable products (Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation - ESPR). The Regulation would include an important set of rules aimed at improving the environmental performance of certain types of products in the European market. 

However, the growth and evolution of “circular e-commerce” could be at risk if product requirements under the ESPR ignore the specificities of second-hand products and create red tape that would hamper their sale to European consumers.

When designing new rules, it is crucial that policymakers take into account the differences between the market of brand-new products and that of second-hand items, which operate through different supply chains. When dealing with brand new products, the most frequent supply chain is:

Manufacturer to Economic Operator such as importer or seller to Consumer

However, the second-hand chain has another pathway:

Manufacturer to Economic Operator to Consumer to Another Economic Operator to Consumer

Giving a second life to products often means a remanufacturing, refurbishment or repair process performed by operators distinct from the first manufacturer. Neither they nor the ultimate reseller of the product necessarily has all the original information related to the product. In some cases, information about these products will simply not be available, for example, because they are no longer manufactured or lack labelling, or because they were uniquely handmade.

Even if the ESPR only intends to cover products newly “placed on the market”, second-hand products coming from outside the EU are likely to fall within that definition and thus be impacted by the new rules. As such, it is important that new European legislation allows for a separate legal regime between new and second-hand imported products, and that it does not systematically mandate information to be collected by sellers and shared with customs, marketplaces or even consumers, when dealing with second-hand products, as it would for new ones. 

To continue promoting the European circular economy, we suggest to consistently adapt the legal definitions applied to each category of products and to introduce targeted exclusions or flexibility on the requirements for products when they are second-hand.

2. Exclude works of art, collectors’ items, antiques, unique or handmade products from some information requirements

Due to the very nature of these type of products, their age, rarity and unique life cycle, and following the same logic applied to second-hand goods, it is frequently difficult for online sellers to comply with all the design and information requirements under the ESPR, when it comes to selling works of art, collectibles, antiques, or handmade items.

If the Regulation does not adapt its scope to them and triggers such retroactive effects on products whose design can no longer be modified, it would effectively mean barring their sale to and extended use by EU consumers. This would be in contradiction to the overarching objective of the ESPR to reduce the environmental impact of products on the EU market, as it would shorten these products’ lifespan and drive them to waste. As a result, we encourage policymakers to exclude those types of products from the scope of the Regulation in order to keep promoting the re-commerce in Europe.

3. Improve cooperation of online marketplaces with authorities on sustainable products

Mirroring other EU legislation, the ESPR proposes provisions that would expand the collaboration between online marketplaces and market surveillance authorities, including the sharing information on non-compliant products, the access by online crawling tools operated by the authorities, and the designing of our interfaces in a way that enables sellers and economic operators to fulfill their obligations.

eBay welcomes these initiatives and wants to play its part alongside authorities in reducing the share of non-compliant products made available online. But product sustainability rules have so far not been the subject of a single database providing information on non-compliant products. Unlike the recent adopted General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR), Ecodesign does not provide for a single portal aggregating infringing products identified by national authorities (like the “Safety Gate”) nor for a business dialogue interface (or “Business Gateway”) where economic operators or online platforms are allowed to exchange information regarding non-compliant products and the actions taken against them.

If the reporting provisions were to be adopted without establishing such centralized cooperation systems, we are concerned that they could turn into a very fragmented, inefficient and burdensome enforcement framework for all players involved (authorities and online platforms alike).

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