The European Commission has announced plans for new “right to repair” rules that it hopes will cover phones, tablets, and laptops by 2021. If successful, these rules will mean these devices should remain useful for longer before needing to be recycled or ending up in landfills. The plans were introduced as part of a wide-ranging set of product initiatives that also cover textiles, plastics, packaging, and food with the aim of helping the trading bloc become climate neutral by 2050.
As well as introducing new “right to repair” rules, the EU also wants products to be more sustainably designed in the first place. Under the new plan, products should be more durable, reusable, upgradeable, and constructed out of more recycled materials. The EU’s hope is to reward manufacturers that achieve these goals. Finally, the EU is also considering introducing a new scheme to let consumers more easily sell or return old phones, tablets, and chargers.
Good. One of the most important aspects of these rules is that the EU wants to force companies to provide spare parts to third party repair shops, which is something that’s entirely normal in, for instance, the car industry, but so far hasn’t been implemented in the technology sector yet because tech companies are special because reasons.
EU-wide right-to-repair legislation will force companies like Apple and Samsung to take device longevity and repairability seriously, and these benefits will spill over to other parts of the world, such as the US, Canada, and maybe even the UK.