Right to Repair Initiative Signifies a Better, Longer Future for Electronics
New EU universal “reuse, refurbish, repair” sanctions set impactful sustainable precedent
The EU Parliament is acting to champion consumer sustainability by encouraging, simplifying, and lowering the cost to repair cell phones, tablets, and laptops with recent additions to the EU Right to Repair rules. In a November 2020 vote, the EU Parliament vote for new “right to repair” sanctions won with 395 in favor, 94 against, and 207 abstentions. This move is an expansion of the 2019 Right to Repair decision that mandated EU manufacturers of common household appliances—like dishwashers, televisions, washing machines, and refrigerators—must provide spare parts for up to ten years. These regulations go into effect this year and Parliament hopes as many devices as possible, from consumer as well as office IT, will be included in the new eco-device laws.
The universal Right to Repair initiative addresses the longevity of consumables and transparency of product features, impacting producers and customers alike. MEPs advocate support for secondhand markets and reaffirm the need for a common charger system to decrease waste. The goal is a climate neutral trading block by 2050, which would also include textiles, plastics, and food.
The primary focus of Right to Repair includes:
- Better sustainable production and production methods from the outset
- Accessible repairs with easier to read manuals, decreased legal barriers, and cheaper cost of replacement
- Scores given at point of purchase on an easy-to-read, five-star system so consumers instantly know to what degree a product can be repaired
- Guarantees extended and provided for replaced parts
Long Live Our Stuff
The Right to Repair regulations hold enormous potential to set a new global precedent for the sustainable treatment of consumer goods, hopefully paving the way for all electronics. We look forward to seeing how and when the effects of these sanctions impact the printing industry. Our 2019 Market Insights on Sustainability report revealed that the second most important change general office workers seek in their print environment is a “lower impact on the environment”, which was second only to lower cost. Implementing more sustainable measures is an active desire across the market. Not only are print companies increasingly embracing sustainability as a business strategy to minimize damage to the environment, but also as a built-in measure to give back.