EU proposes new laws to reduce product waste with better repair services 

Last week, the European Commission presented new proposals to boost repair services, which it hopes will support the European Green Deal targets by reducing product waste. 

According to the proposals, there are a number of obstacles at the moment for consumers wanting to repair their products and for repair services to operate, like limited access to parts, a lack of information, a lack of standardisation, and high costs. 

The Commission is proposing a directive on common rules promoting the repair of goods that would make it more appealing for consumers to repair their products, rather than simply buying a replacement, particularly after the warranty has expired.  

It plans to do this by providing incentives for repairers and rewards for business models that take a more sustainable approach. 

The proposal says that, under EU law, consumers have a ‘right to repair’ for at least two years. This means that they need to be offered a repair unless it’s cheaper to replace the product. 

Companies will be legally required to inform customers about their right to repair, and there will be an online repair platform to find a suitable repair provider for their products. This law will only affect product manufacturers, not self-repair services. 

In a statement, an EU official said: “The proposal aims to promote repair after the sale when the products become defective, to achieve consumer savings, and to boost the repair sector. The bigger picture is to achieve less waste, and less viable goods are thrown away. The match-making platform is a voluntary tool in which all repair sellers and independent repairers can be given access to from different member states.” 

Apple in particular is expected to be hugely impacted by the new legislation, as it currently has very limited access to alternative repair services and it’s hard to get hold of parts. Despite offering an Independent Repair program, campaigners continue to criticise the firm. 

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