Environment: Consumer advocates insist on grants for repairs

Environment: Consumer advocates insist on grants for repairs

Many defective devices are thrown away, which puts a strain on the environment and climate. The federal government wants to tackle the problem, but little has happened so far. Some are now looking to Brussels with hope.

Consumer advocates are calling for more state support for repairs to devices such as coffee machines and cell phones. The introduction of a nationwide repair bonus for all electronic devices would not only help to reduce mountains of electronic waste, the Federal Association of Consumers (vzbv) told the German Press Agency. Resources and the climate would be protected and citizens would be relieved in times of rising prices.

In March 2022, Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) announced: “We will take important steps out of the throwaway society, for example through a right to repairs.” This should be supported, for example, by a funding program repairing instead of throwing away.

“It’s been a year since the federal government announced the ‘Repair instead of throwing away’ action program,” criticized Ramona Pop, vzbv board member. Concrete projects are not yet available, according to the federal association. However, Pop sees an opportunity in the fact that the EU Commission now wants to present a proposal for a right to repair. This will be presented this Wednesday.

New law needed?

The European consumer association Beuc said in advance: “We expect the proposal to introduce a new consumer right to repairs.” This right should apply to situations where consumers cannot rely on legal guarantees.

In addition to a state subsidy for repair costs, German consumer advocates are also demanding that companies should be given a greater share of these costs. The vzbv sees France as a role model: Manufacturers of certain products there would have to contribute to the costs of repairs via a fund.

“But Berlin doesn’t have to wait for Brussels,” emphasized Pop. The federal government should present its own measures and must work at European level to ensure that manufacturers have to provide binding information on the repairability and service life of a product. Consumers needed this information before making a purchase.

The EU Parliament had already demanded a right to repair almost two years ago. This is intended to inform consumers about the cost of spare parts when making a purchase and also whether a device can be repaired. Smartphones, coffee machines and printers should be thrown away less often.

Source: Stern

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