The ‘Right to Repair’ legislation currently being considered in Europe and in some US states are intended to reduce volumes of waste and push manufacturers to make dependable products that are easier to maintain.
The legislation will legally require manufacturers to offer replacement parts, and in some cases, completely repair the goods when they break down.
Proposals under consideration by the European Union will examine electronics, including televisions and white goods. The plans for European law, under the eco-design and energy labelling directive, note the world-wide demand for more efficient products to reduce energy and resource consumption.
In the US, at least 18 states are considering bringing in the law. States include California, Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia.
“We should be working to reduce needless waste – repairing things that still have life – but companies use their power to make things harder to repair,” said Emily Rusch, executive director of the California Public Interest Research Group.
“Our recent survey, Recharge Repair, showed a surge in interest in additional repair options after Apple announced battery issues. The Right to Repair Act would give people those options.”
The move in both regions comes amid a growing backlash against impervious products, some of which are glued together, and which cannot be accessed. As a result, numerous amounts of these products end up in landfill, instead of being repaired for reuse.
“We want manufacturers and producers to make products easier to reuse and repair, to make them last longer,” environment minister Therese Coffey told The Independent.
“We will consider mandatory extended warranties, and clearer product labelling if necessary, to achieve this.
“It is absolutely right that we move away from being a throw-away society so we can achieve our aim of leaving our environment in a better state for future generations.”