Makers of electronic devices such as phones, tablets and laptops will be required to make their products easier to repair and reuse, under European commission plans to extend the “right to repair” legislation.
The aim is to boost levels of recycling of such devices, only around 40 per cent of which are recycled, currently. A previous extension of the eco design directive forced manufacturers of household goods such as televisions, fridges and washing machines to make their products easier to repair.
The announcement was welcomed by Miquel Ballester Salvà, co-founder and innovation lead at sustainable smartphone maker Fairphone. “This initiative will promote longer product lifetimes through reuse, repair, upgradable components, and extended software support,” he said in a blog post.
This latest measure is part of a wider Circular Economy Action Plan from the EU, which aims to make Europe’s “economy fit for a green future, strengthen our competitiveness while protecting the environment and give new rights to consumers”.
Other measures that will be taken include mandatory requirements around packaging of goods sold on the EU market; new regulations for vehicle batteries to improve circularity; and a strategy for textiles to encourage innovation and reuse.
According to the Frans Timmermans, executive vice-president of the European Green Deal, currently on 12 per cent of secondary materials are brought back into the economy.
“Many products break down too easily, cannot be reused, repaired or recycled, or are made for single-use only,” he said. “There is a huge potential to be exploited both for businesses and consumers.”
Featured image: Daniel Canibano