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Environment: Repair instead of throwing away: New rights for EU consumers

Environment: Repair instead of throwing away: New rights for EU consumers

The cell phone breaks after exactly two years and it is cheaper to buy a new one than to have it repaired? This should change in the future thanks to a new EU law.

Cell phones, vacuum cleaners, washing machines and dishwashers: These and other devices will have to be repaired in the EU in the future if the customer requests it. The EU Parliament now wants to give the green light to a long-demanded “right to repair”. The project at a glance:

What is the new “right to repair”?

In the EU, customers will in future have the right to have certain devices repaired. In principle, those affected must be offered a repair option as long as the product can still be repaired. Specifically, it is primarily about household appliances and everyday products such as cell phones, vacuum cleaners, washing machines and dishwashers. The law covers goods for which the EU has already set repairability requirements in other legal texts.

The list of affected products may therefore be expanded in the future. According to the planned rules, manufacturers must also provide information to make repairs easier for independent workshops. In addition, independent repair services should no longer be prevented from installing used or 3D-printed spare parts.

Is there a warranty for repaired products?

Yes, according to the EU states, a warranty should be introduced that is valid for one year after a repair. This is intended to ensure that consumers can trust that a repair is worth it.

What impact does the project have on the environment?

When the EU Commission presented its proposal for implementing the new requirements, it estimated that over 15 years, 18.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions and 1.8 million tons of resources would be saved and 3 million tons less waste would be generated. If this proves true, the new rules will have a positive impact on the environment as fewer products will be thrown away due to small defects.

How are repairs also funded?

Every EU state must introduce at least one measure to promote repairs. This requirement can be met, for example, through repair vouchers through which the state contributes to the costs of a repair. This makes repairs cheaper for consumers. It is also conceivable to provide space for information campaigns or repair initiatives.

What further steps are needed?

With the approval of the EU Parliament, only the EU states need to give their final consent. This is usually a mere formality, as negotiators from EU states were involved when the new rules were negotiated. Once all institutions have agreed, the legal text can be published in the EU Official Journal. The requirements must then be implemented into national law within two years.

Source: Stern

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