Federal Ecodesign Award for Innovative Concepts

The Federal Ecodesign Award 2021 was presented to ten prize winners. Very different innovative projects were honored, such as care products for self-mixing or online orders without shipping material waste.

The award ceremony also marks the tenth anniversary of the highest state award for ecological design in Germany. Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary and jury member, explained: “Attractive design that combines the highest standards of ecology and aesthetics is modern environmental protection. Whether a product has a positive or negative impact on the environment is largely determined by its design. Ecodesign – from production and use to recycling – makes it possible to decouple consumption from resource and energy consumption. It’s about optimally combining design, ecology, and utility.”

Schwarzelühr-Sutter also pointed out that the environmental properties of products and services are often aggressively advertised to consumers. In the process, however, there was an increasingly misleading use of terms related to the environment. “We are critical of the inflationary use of the terms ‘climate neutral’ and ‘climate positive’. Sometimes there are good intentions behind it, but often it is greenwashing and consumer deception.”

For this reason, she said, one supported corresponding activities in the EU and worldwide to counteract this. Dr. Dirk Messner, UBA President: “The topic of ecodesign has gained enormous importance. Ecodesign now plays a central role in the circular society and the decoupling of resource consumption and prosperity. This increased importance is also reflected in the Federal Ecodesign Award.”

The following projects, products and concepts dealing with packaging are among the winners of the Federal Ecodesign Award: In the Product category, the CareTwice shampoo powder by CareTwice UG (company headquarters: Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg) was honored; by adding water, the shampoo powder packaged in paper can be transformed into liquid hair shampoo at home. This represents a considerable saving of material and energy.

The shower gel and hand soap powder from Less Waste Club UG in Kirchroth, Bavaria, also received an award. The water content of these powdered personal care products is reduced to almost zero. This and the absence of plastic packaging save a large proportion of carbon dioxide emissions in the manufacturing and delivery process.

In the Service category, the award went to RePack from Original RePack Oy, which is based in the Finnish capital Helsinki. As a service for reusable shipping packages, “this project ensures the de-waste of e-commerce. Online stores ship their goods in RePacks and consumers return them free of charge by dropping them at the nearest mailbox,” according to the jury’s statement.

The Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Federal Environment Agency have been awarding the Federal Ecodesign Prize every year since 2012 in collaboration with the International Design Center Berlin. The competition honors outstanding work that is convincing from an environmental and design perspective in the four categories of product, service, concept, and young talent. It is aimed at companies of all sizes and sectors as well as students. Innovative content, design quality, and environmental properties are the main criteria of the evaluation. Effects on everyday culture and consumer behavior are also taken into account. The entire product life cycle is considered, from the preliminary stages of production, through manufacturing, distribution and use, to the end of life.

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