What is the Right to Repair law?
Until now, it was often cheaper to buy a new fridge or washing machine than to repair it, but with the Right to Repair law, this is going to change.
Modern appliances are often glued together, or need specialist tools to open them, and spare parts are not available. Even worse, a lot of devices break shortly after the warranty expired, which means manufacturers plan obsolescence.
This new law in the EU and the UK is meant to reduce electronic waste, and to allow consumers to repair their appliances instead of buying new ones.
Under the new rules, manufacturers will have to ensure parts are available for up to a decade. New devices will also have to come with repair manuals and be made in such a way that they can be dismantled using conventional tools, to improve recycling.
Each year, Europeans produce more than 16 kg of electrical waste per person.
About half of that junk is due to broken household appliances, and only about 40% is recycled, leaving behind huge amounts of potentially hazardous material.
Knowing an appliance will really last for a decade might help consumers to choose products that are more durable or can be easily fixed.
Most of the time, a repaired appliance is actually a better solution for the environment than buying a new one. The only exception might be an old, inefficient refrigerator that can contain greenhouse gases.
Although this is definitely a step in the right direction, when will the “right to repair” be extended to smartphones, laptops and other small electrical devices?
In the meantime, don’t just throw away your old electronics! Instead, donate them or recycle them.