Fight against electronic waste: EU wants to extend the right to repair

Repair instead of throwing it away. Because of the huge amount of electronic waste, the EU is now calling for extended repair rights for mobile devices

white gold

Author: July Becker

  • EU: Right to repair should also apply to cell phones, laptops and tablets
  • After standardizing charging cables, another step towards avoiding electronic waste
  • Germans produce approx. 22 kg of electronic waste annually

If you want to repair your smartphone, laptop or tablet instead of replacing it, you have usually had to do without it. The electronic repair of a broken device is often very complex and expensive, sometimes not even possible because there are no spare parts for older models.

Right to repair: provision of spare parts and repair information

That should change now. According to the will of the EU Commission, the right to repair that was introduced last year should now also apply to cell phones, laptops and tablets. So far, it only referred to washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators and lamps. Manufacturers must provide spare parts and repair information for these devices. The repair should also be possible with normal tools, without causing damage. From March 2021, these requirements will be mandatory for all manufacturers and importers of electronic articles.

Uniform charging cables - a step in the right direction  

The often short-lived components of cell phones, laptops and tablets should now be as easy to replace as parts of washing machines and Co. according to the EU's wishes. The first important step towards avoiding electronic waste was made in January 2020 in the form of the Standardization of charging cables. Every device of every brand should be rechargeable through the same connection. Apple, Samsung and Co. are in debt. The EU Commission will work out the exact regulations for manufacturers by the end of July. There are also plans for new packaging requirements. A ban should, for example, for the "Exaggeratedly complex" product wrappings apply. 

Every German produces 23 kilograms of electronic waste a year

Germans produce about per capita and year 22 kilograms of electronic waste, but only 45 percent of them are disposed of properly. Worldwide, there are a total of 40 million tons of old devices a year and, according to Greenpeace, it is recycled much less at 25% worldwide. The improper portion is likely to be sold illegally, a billion dollar business with secondary raw materials. So it is it is essential that goods are produced more sustainably, used longer and then reused, so the EU. The extension of the right to repair must now be approved by the Member States of the European Union and the European Parliament before it comes into force.


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