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Right to Repair on the rise

January 10, 2019

In a bid to combat climate change and boost sustainability, European environment ministers have put forward new proposals promoting the right to repair.

As the BBC reports, these proposals are designed to “force manufacturers to make goods that last longer and are easier to mend.”

Currently, these proposals regard large home appliances, TVs and lighting.

However, the EU Ecodesign Directive is proving “complex and controversial”, with manufacturers complaining that the new regulations “are too strict and will stifle innovation.”

Some have also expressed worries that “DIY repairers” could do more harm than good, damaging machines to the possible extent that they could become dangerous.

Digital Europe stated, “We understand the political ambition to integrate strict energy and resource efficiency aspects in Ecodesign, but we are concerned that some requirements are either unrealistic or provide no added value.

“The draft regulations limit market access, deviate from internationally-recognised best practices and compromise intellectual property.”

On the other side of the spectrum, consumer campaigners are also disgruntled, saying that manufacturers have been allowed “to keep control of the repair process” by saying that certain products can only be fixed by professionals working under their auspices.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) said: “This restricts the access of independent repairers to spare parts and information – and that limits the scope and affordability of repair services.”

Other campaigners, however, are pleased with the proposals and the “progress” they will make toward the reduction of carbon emissions.

Libby Peake of Green Alliance commented, “The new rules are a definite improvement. We think they could have been better, but it’s good news that at last politicians are waking up to an issue that the public have recognised as a problem for a long time. The new rules will benefit the environment and save resources.”

As for the UK, despite its imminent departure from the EU, the British government has responded favourably to the new regulations “and will almost certainly need to replicate them” if it wants to continue exporting products to Europe.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said that resource efficiency was “key to improving our productivity and making best use of precious resources”.

“That is why we are supporting measures in the new Ecodesign Directive product regulations to encourage repair and re-use of a range of products,” she concluded.

Categories : Around the Industry

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