The right to repair isn’t simply an issue of the consumer being able to fix their devices. Many people are concerned about e-waste and pollution as well. The European Parliament’s vote to create stronger right to repair laws, could lead to much less e-waste in the coming years, creating a cleaner environment.
What is Right to Repair?
Right to repair is the ease of which a consumer can repair their broken devices. Some companies have purposely made it difficult to repair devices. This can be achieved by not selling individual parts, using proprietary components, and using non-standard building methods.
The law passed by the European Parliament could mean that manufacturers who wish to sell their products in the European Union must follow the rules and regulations put in place. They will be forced to make their devices easier for the consumer to repair, either by themselves or through a third party.
It also punishes companies who make unsustainable products – products that are designed to have have a short lifespan.
A lot of people know how the upgrade path goes with their cellphones and other electronics. A laptop will work for 3 or 4 years and then become an expensive paperweight. They may throw out their laptop or give it away to someone who might b able to repair it. These broken devices more often than not end up in a landfill somewhere.
The best case scenario for broken products is that they are shipped to developing countries to be de-constructed and salvaged. Some of the components will be usable; however, most of the product, such as the plastic housing, will end up becoming e-waste.
The European Union’s decision to place regulations on right to repair will reduce the amount of old electronics in landfills all over the continent.
The Citizens Have Spoken
The decision to regulate tech companies on right to repair services is popular with citizens from the EU as well. 70 percent of Europeans agree: they should be able to afford to get their devices such as laptops and tablets repaired instead of purchasing new ones.
The European Union intends to develop a system to score each device’s repairability, giving consumers an easy way to decide if a device they are purchasing will be obsolete in just a few years. A similar measure was passed in 2017; however, a system was never implemented. It is expected that the European Union will implement such a system this time around.