The European Commission has announced it will introduce a law mandating “right to repair” for electronics, aiming to cut down on waste by promoting products that can be repaired instead of replaced, according to Engadget.
If the legislation were to be passed, the rules would apply to phones, tablets, and computers, and would force manufacturers to overhaul their approach to product designs.
It would restrict the production of single-use products, as well as the destruction of unsold merchandise. It would require electronics to be produced using as much recycled material as possible.
The rules would also require companies to provide information on the durability of devices and how they could be repaired, so that consumers can make informed choices that benefit the environment and promote longer-lasting products.
“Single-use will be restricted, premature obsolescence tackled and the destruction of unsold durable goods banned,” the Commission said.
The European Commission has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050, and the rules would be just one element of the European Green Deal policies, announced last year. The legislation would also be another in a series of moves to cut down on electronic waste, after lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in January to implement a universal standard for electronics charging cables, in a blow to Apple’s proprietary lightning cable.
Commissioners describe the efforts as a move towards a “circular economy.”
“Today, our economy is still mostly linear, with only 12% of secondary materials and resources being brought back into the economy,” according to Commission Executive Vice President EVP Frans Timmermans.
“Many products break down too easily, cannot be reused, repaired or recycled, or are made for single use only. There is a huge potential to be exploited both for businesses and consumers. With today’s plan we launch action to transform the way products are made and empower consumers to make sustainable choices for their own benefit and that of the environment.”
Officials are also considering a buy-back scheme for old electronics.
The bill says it would ensure that future trade deals “reflect the enhanced objectives of the circular economy,” suggesting the rules would have an impact far beyond Europe.
“The linear growth model of ‘take, make, use discard’ has reached its limits,” European environment commissioner, Virginijus Sinkevičius, told The Guardian.
“With the growth of the world population and consumption, this linear model pushes us closer and closer to a resource crisis. The only way ahead is decoupling economic growth from extraction of primary resources and their environmental impacts.”
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