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Right-to-Repair: A future solution to reduce electric waste?

In November 2020, the European Parliament adopted a resolution that strengthens the “Right-to-Repair”. Many of the participants in our survey would like to see an even stronger “right to repair”. What is actually behind this and what does it actually include?

The European Parliament has been aware of the problem of too much unnecessary electronic waste for quite some time. The biggest problem is the decreasing life span of almost all electronic devices in the household, office or everyday life. One of the demands is the “right to repair”. The aim is to make it more attractive to repair a tablet or smartphone, for example. This is to be achieved, among other things, through an extended product warranty, better access to spare parts and more sensitive handling of information regarding maintenance and repair. One strategy for this is, for example, a system for labeling the service life of e-devices with an indication of the estimated service life.

Since March 1, 2021, new regulations have been in force to make repairs easier and more attractive. With regard to spare parts, it was decided that these must still be available for several years after the purchase of the equipment (e.g. refrigerators 7 years, washing machines 10 years). In addition, long delivery times are to be avoided and a period of delivery of spare parts is to be around 15 days. Consumers will also be provided with a list of all available spare parts by the manufacturers, which will be accessible on the Internet. The repair will be facilitated in that anyone can perform it with conventional tools without causing serious damage. With the help of a repair manual from the manufacturer, consumers should be supported and motivated. The focus should be on typical defects/faults of products. The manufacturers have to make these transparent and indicate the expected costs (measure of the EU-Ökodesign-Richtlinie).

And what about smartphones/tablets/laptops/PCs? Unfortunately, these devices still fall through the cracks of the current resolutions. Many of CIRECON’s experts consider this to be a cause for concern. Especially such resource-intensive electrical devices as smartphones should be easier to repair. The good news is that the EU Commission already wants to discuss new regulations by the end of the year, which will then also include smartphones and charging cables.

An alliance of European organizations is also campaigning for this. They call for “Right-to-Repair”. More information on the campaign and the movement here.

We also found a interesting video about the Right-to-Repair for you. Just click on “video”. Watch it and tell us: Do you think the Right-to-Repair is a future solution to reduce the amount of e-waste?