EU unveils ‘right to repair’ rules for appliances
The EU has unveiled groundbreaking new rules that force manufactures to make household appliances easier to repair in a bid to slash energy bills and pollution.
Monitors, fridges, freezers, washing machines, washer-dryers, dishwashers and lighting products will have to meet minimum ‘right to repair’ requirements by 2021 if placed on the EU market.
Manufacturers will also be forced to ensure products can be easily disassembled with commonly available tools, and provide professionals with spare parts and repair information.
It is hoped that extending the lifespan of appliances will cut demand for new products, and slash emissions linked to manufacturing, distributing, use and disposal.
The new rules will also reduce the energy needed to power these appliances, and ensure products are easier to recycle thanks to improved design.
Chloé Fayole, programme and strategy director at environmental group ECOS, said Europe had taken a "big step" towards a more circular economy and shown leadership to the rest of the world.
“We now expect EU decision makers to replicate this approach to many other products, notably electronic products such as smartphones and computers, to minimise their environmental impact,” she added.
The new measures are part of the EU’s Ecodesign Directive, which removes the most wasteful products from the market and replaces them with units that do the same job with less energy and resources.
Together with energy labels adopted in March, the European Commission expects the new rules to save households €150 (£134) each year and deliver savings equivalent to the energy consumption of Denmark by 2030.
These cuts come on top of those achieved by existing ecodesign and energy label requirements, which are expected to deliver yearly savings equivalent to Italy's annual primary energy consumption by 2020.
European commissioner for climate action and energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, said: “Our eco-design measures can save European consumers a lot of money, as well as help the EU reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
“As we move towards our long-term goal of a fully decarbonised EU by 2050, our energy efficiency and eco-design strategy will become ever more important.”
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Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM