The UK government has launched a new set of rules (“right to repair”) that oblige manufacturers to build their products in a way that allows customers to repair them without having to depend on the same manufacturers.
Under current legislation, producers must make spare parts available to people who buy electronic devices. Since consumers are likely to throw away their old phones or laptops if the battery or hard drive malfunctions because parts are either difficult to retrieve (when stuck together in a case, for example) or simply unavailable, this decision can be considered as a national mark in the fight against e-waste.
This is an opinion shared by Adam French of the Which? who argues that the new legislation should “ensure [that] the products last longer ”.
For now, only the parts needed for “simple repairs” will be made available to your average customer, while those needed for complex repairs such as door hinges for a washing machine or replacement trays for refrigerators. -Freezers can only be obtained by professional repair services.
Manufacturers are responsible for making product parts available for at least ten years, whether or not the specific item is part of their product line. The immediate availability of parts is expected to usher in a greater global commitment to sustainable lifestyles on the part of consumers and is believed to extend the life cycle of electronic products, thereby preventing unnecessary electronic waste from ending up in landfills.
Yet environmental experts are quick to point out that these developments are only a small step in the right direction – until all the parts are available to consumers, there can be no question of a “legal right.” of repair “.
Libby Peake, Head of Resource Policy at Green Alliance, said: “There is also no guarantee that spare parts and repair services will be affordable, so considerable obstacles remain in making this happen. simplest default option ”.
The new legislation could also serve to make white goods more expensive – major household appliances that are usually white, ranging from refrigerators and dishwashers to radiators and stoves.
Beyond financial considerations, a lot depends on the attitude of consumers. Research suggests that many still don’t feel comfortable enough to take advantage of the increased availability of spare parts. Among kitchen appliances covered by the new legislation, Britons are the most comfortable repairing their washing machines (22%) but much less willing to repair their dishwashers (16%).
Globally, the right to redress movement is gaining momentum. Recently, the European Parliament voted in favor of laws that will ensure that electrical devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops can be repaired for up to ten years while later this week US President Joe Biden is expected to sign. an executive order directing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to develop rules for repairing farm equipment.