MADRID – A new European `anti-waste´ law means companies must be able to be fix electrical appliances and goods (such as kitchen appliances and televisions) for up to 10 years. Due to the current culture, a vast amount of electrical goods is discarded every day.
The amount of electronic equipment and electrical waste across Europe is staggering and varies from country to country. The figures according to Eurostat range from 14.1kg per inhabitant in Sweden down to 2.4kg per person in Romania. The last recorded figures for each person in Spain are 6.2kg. Figures for the UK are not far behind Sweden, at 13.2kg. These figures are due to be updated in May and are likely to be even higher.
Electrical waste increased by 21% in just five years
Over half of the electrical waste collected in 2017 was accounted for by the larger electrical goods such as kitchen appliances.
According to E-waste Monitor, a record 53.6 million metric tonnes (Mt) of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019. This was an increase of 21% in just five years. After Asia and the Americas, Europe came third with the amount of electrical waste at 12 Mt.
Products designed to be `unfixable´
The “Right to Repair Act” came in force at the beginning of this month. As a result, the EU is restricting products that have been designed to be “unfixable”. This could be good news for repair shops as people will look to make more use of existing products. Manufacturers should also make repair manuals more accessible. This will enable people to fix their own goods.
UK newspaper Independent states “while the UK has left the European Union, the UK’s manufacturing standards will necessarily have to match those of the 27-nation bloc”. They continued, “Under the new EU rules, manufacturers will have to ensure parts are available for up to a decade, though some will only be provided to professional repair companies to ensure they are installed correctly”.
The next step
However, not all items are included within the new EU act yet. It is hoped that mobile phones, laptops, and other smaller gadgets will follow.
France on the other hand, has taken a step further, and from Monday, Apple online stores there have introduced repairability scores for their iPhones and MacBooks.