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If you have ever received an envelope from the German government or agency, there is a good chance it had this on it. Also if you bought recycled Küchenrolle (kitchen paper), there is a good chance it is there. Even some electronic devices carry it. What? The Blauer Engel (Blue Angel) label. What is it? And what does it do? Read it here.
The Blauer Engel is an Umweltzeichen (ecolabel) that was introduced by the German government in 1978 for products that are particularly environmentally friendly, for example. As the website of the label itself says: Der Blaue Engel garantiert, dass die Produkte und Dienstleistungen hohe Ansprüche an Umwelt-, Gesundheits- und Gebrauchseigenschaften erfüllen (The Blue Angel guarantees that the products and services meet high requirements for environmental, health and use properties). This does not mean that they are perfect, but rather that they are the “best in class”. The products are compared to other, similar conventional products. If they indeed achieve most with the least evil, then they can carry the Umweltzeichen. If multiple products in the same branch fulfill the requirements, they can both use the Blauer Engel. It does not say which product is more environmentally friendly. You have to apply for it, though, so it might also be that a product fulfills all requirements, but does not carry the label because it wasn’t applied for.
Every product group has different requirements, the so-called Vergabegrundlagen, which are elaborately written up on the website. Because an envelope is a very different product than, say, a toaster, the Umweltzeichen is given for other reasons. The reasons are given on the label too! Look at the picture below.
You can read: Der Blaue Engel, weil aus 100% Altpapier. Schützt die Ressourcen (The Blue Angel, because made of 100% waste paper. Protects the resources). Other products can have different labels, as you can see on the image below.
These are other Schutzziele (protection goals). This is what they mean:
– Schützt Umwelt und Gesundheit (protects environment and health).
– Schützt das Klima (protects the climate).
– Schützt die Ressourcen (protects the resources).
– Schützt das Wasser (protects the water).
So now the next time you see this label, you know what it stands for! Is there a label like this in your country as well? Let me know in the comments below!