A group of leading DIY retailers, builders’ merchants and manufacturers in the UK – including Argos, B&Q, Chandlers’ Building Supplies, Homebase, Travis Perkins, Saint Gobain, Wolseley UK and Southern Water — are joining forces to launch a voluntary labelling scheme to help consumers identify the water efficiency of bathroom fittings such as taps, showers, toilets and baths, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
The new label represents a significant step forward for the industry, which has been seeking the best way to provide consumers with clear water efficiency information. The label will help consumers to compare products on a ‘like for like’ basis and see which ones offer the greatest water savings and will begin appearing across a wide range of products next summer.
The scheme will use the existing European Water Label, which follows a similar approach to the Energy Efficiency Label found on white goods such as fridges and freezers; expanding it to include all bathroom fittings on sale will greatly increase its reach.
Agreement to roll out the labelling across full product ranges for showers, taps, toilets and baths was reached by a cross-industry group brought together by WRAP, at the request of Defra, in response to the UK government’s Water for Life White Paper. The group’s remit was to look at the role the sector could play in reducing water demand through increasing sales of water-efficient bathroom fittings.
The data on water use will also be added at point-of-sale and on product websites over the next year, so that information is readily available to consumers. The group behind the initiative says this will give the industry time to make the necessary changes ready to start it rolling out to consumers by the summer of 2014.
WRAP chief executive Liz Goodwin said, “We welcomed the opportunity to work together with the sector to explore how water efficiency information could be made more readily available for consumers throughout the UK, to help them compare product performance and choose what’s right for them. The industry group members have worked very hard to make this a reality and I’m delighted that agreement has now been reached.”
WRAP has facilitated the release of key consumer-information labelling that is helping to raise consumer awareness around topics such as recycling, resource efficiency and waste reduction. To reduce food waste, the organization partnered last yaer with retailer Sainsbury's on labelling that advises customers to freeze food as soon as possible up to the product's use-by date; and helped drive this year's "Fresher for Longer" campaign to help increase consumer awareness around packaging and how storing food effectively can help reduce spoilage.