Ecodesign and right to repair in Europe

Hackaday article Europeans Now Have The Right To Repair – And That Means The Rest Of Us Probably Will Too talks about an important topic: right to repair.

The right to repair what we own has been a hot topic for many years. Many modern devices seem to be surprisingly difficult to fix. In many cases it is not in the interests of manufacturers keen to sell more products to support people who want to keep existing products working for a long time.

When the devices could not be repaired, the resulting mountain of electrical waste was seen as enough of a problem that the European Union is introducing new rules governing their repairability. The European Right To Repair laws are aimed at reducing environmental impact.

The new law mandates that certain classes of household appliances and other devices (washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, televisions) for sale within the EU’s jurisdiction must have a guaranteed period of replacement part availability and that they must be designed such that they can be worked upon with standard tools. So in the future we hardware hackers more likely to be able to fix those dead appliances.

European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete said: “Together with smarter energy labels, our eco-design measures can save European consumers a lot of money, as well as help the EU reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Eco-design is therefore a key element in the fight against climate change and a direct contribution to meeting the goals set in the Paris Agreement. As we move towards our long-term goal of a fully decarbonised EU by 2050, our energy efficiency and eco-design strategy will become ever more important”.

For more details on repairing in EU, read their press release, their FAQ and ecodesign requirements. The Commission estimates that these measures, together with the energy labels adopted on 11 March, will deliver 167 TWh of final energy savings per year by 2030.

 

12 Comments

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Climate change: New rules could spell end of ‘throwaway culture
    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-51825089

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    European lawmakers propose a ‘right to repair’ for mobiles and laptops
    https://techcrunch.com/2020/03/11/european-lawmakers-propose-a-right-to-repair-for-mobiles-and-laptops/

    The European Commission has set out a plan to move towards a ‘right to repair’ for electronics devices, such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops.

    More generally it wants to restrict single-use products, tackle “premature obsolescence” and ban the destruction of unsold durable goods — in order to make sustainable products the norm.

    The proposals are part of a circular economy action plan that’s intended to deliver on a Commission pledge to transition the bloc to carbon neutrality by 2050.

    https://ec.europa.eu/environment/circular-economy/pdf/new_circular_economy_action_plan.pdf

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    “Emme olisi voineet kuvitellakaan tällaista maailmaa” – Kodinkoneista on tullut korjauskelvottomia, mutta nyt luvassa on muutos
    https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-11339563

    Nopeasti rikkoutuvat kodinkoneet kuormittavat ympäristöä, ja siksi EU haluaa niistä eroon.

    Eräät valmistajat antavat Airaksisen mukaan huoltoyhtiöille listoja tuotteista ja malleista, joita ei lähdetä korjaamaan. Ostaja saa siis tilalle uuden laitteen pienestäkin viasta.

    – Ajattelimme, että sen voisi tottakai korjata ja etsimme varaosaa. Laitevalmistajalla ei kuitenkaan ollut toimittaa uutta kahvaa, joten koko laite päätyi kierrätykseen, Airaksinen huokaa.

    Tällaisilla laitteilla ei pian enää ole asiaa suomalaisten kodinkoneliikkeiden hyllyille, kun EU:n suunnitelmat etenevät.

    Monille kodinlaitteille, kuten astianpesukoneille, jääkaapeille, pesukoneille ja televisioille, korjauskelpoisuusvaatimuksia on jo laadittu. Ne tulevat voimaan maaliskuussa 2021 ja koskevat markkinoille tulevia uusia tuotteita.

    Korjauskelpoisuusvaatimuksia on sen jälkeen tarkoitus laajentaa koskemaan muitakin tuoteryhmiä.

    – Uusien tuoteryhmien kohdalla työ tulee kestämään todennäköisesti vuosia

    Komissio haluaa myös eroon tuotteiden ennenaikaisesta vanhenemisesta. Asia on ollut tärkeä eurooppalaisille kuluttajajärjestöille. Se on noussut esiin etenkin älylaitteiden kohdalla.

    Ongelmat ovat kaikille tuttuja: ohjelmistopäivitys ei onnistu liian vanhoihin laitteisiin, laitteita ei pystytä korjaamaan tai niiden akkuja ei voi vaihtaa. Jos tähän saadaan muutos, älylaitteiden käyttöikä voi pidentyä ja kuluttajille voi koitua säästöjä.

    Suomessa lakisääteinen valmistajan virhevastuu perustuu jo nykyisellään laitteen oletettuun kestoikään. Toisin sanoen laitteiden on kestettävä takuuajan päättymistä pidemmälle.

    Komissio haluaa, että kuluttajat saavat jatkossa jo ostopäätöksen tueksi tiedon tuotteen arvioidusta käyttöiästä.

    Tällä hetkellä laitteen kestävyyden arviointi ennen ostopäätöstä on kuluttajalle lähes mahdotonta jakäyttövuosien määrää voi vain arvailla. Laitteen hinnasta on voinut päätellä jotain, koska “hyvä ja halpa ovat kaksi eri tuotetta”, summaa huoltoyrittäjä Airaksinen.

    Uudistuksista onkin iloittu kuluttajajärjestöissä. Kuluttajaliiton mukaan kestävämmät tuotteet eivät kuitenkaan saisi olla merkittävästi nykyisiä kalliimpia, jotta ne olisivat kuluttajille houkuttelevia ja kulutuskäyttäytyminen voisi siten muuttua.

    – Hintanäkökulma on kuluttajille hyvin tärkeä, mikä näkyy nyt ei niin kestävien tuotteiden valinnoissa

    Suomessa käyttöikänsä päähän tulleet kodinlaitteet kerätään talteen, murskataan ja niiden metallit erotellaan teollisuuden hyötykäyttöön.

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    “Emme olisi voineet kuvitellakaan tällaista maailmaa” – Kodinkoneista on tullut korjauskelvottomia, mutta nyt luvassa on muutos
    Nopeasti rikkoutuvat kodinkoneet kuormittavat ympäristöä, ja siksi EU haluaa niistä eroon.
    https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-11339563

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Paola Rosa-Aquino / New York Times:
    Right to repair gains ground with proposed regulations in US and EU that would force companies to share parts, tools, and info with consumers and repair shops — Both Republicans and Democrats are pursuing laws to make it easier for people to fix cellphones, cars, even hospital ventilators.

    Fix, or Toss? The ‘Right to Repair’ Movement Gains Ground
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/23/climate/right-to-repair.html

    Both Republicans and Democrats are pursuing laws to make it easier for people to fix cellphones, cars, even hospital ventilators. In Europe, the movement is further along.

    If you buy a product — a car, a smartphone, or even a tractor — and it breaks, should it be easier for you to fix it yourself?

    Manufacturers of a wide range of products have made it increasingly difficult over the years to repair things, for instance by limiting availability of parts or by putting prohibitions on who gets to tinker with them. It affects not only game consoles or farm equipment, but cellphones, military gear, refrigerators, automobiles and even hospital ventilators, the lifesaving devices that have proven crucial this year in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Now, a movement known as “right to repair” is starting to make progress in pushing for laws that prohibit restrictions like these.

    This August, Democrats introduced a bill in Congress to block manufacturers’ limits on medical devices, spurred by the pandemic. In Europe, the European Commission announced plans in March for new right-to-repair rules that would cover phones, tablets, and laptops by 2021.

    Manufacturing a new device or appliance is still largely reliant on polluting sources of energy — electricity generated from burning fossil fuels, for instance — and constitutes the largest environmental impact for most products. Mining and manufacturing materials for the newest iPhone, for example, represents roughly 83 percent of its contribution to the heat-trapping emissions in the atmosphere throughout its life cycle, according to Apple’s manufacturing data. For a washing machine, it’s about 57 percent.

    Add to that complex calculus the emissions from assembling the materials into a product, and then shipping it around the world.

    “There are a lot of products that are not designed to last,” said Gay Gordon-Byrne, the executive director of the Repair Association, a group focused on right-to-repair legislation. “But if you have enough options for repair, you can keep even the worst product going, if you can fix it.”

    Questions and Answers: A New Circular Economy Action Plan for a Cleaner and More Competitive Europe
    https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/qanda_20_419

    What is the new EU Circular Economy Action Plan?

    The new Action Plan announces initiatives for the entire life cycle of products, from design and manufacturing to consumption, repair, reuse, recycling, and bringing resources back into the economy. It introduces legislative and non-legislative measures and targets areas where action at the EU level brings added value. The Action Plan is at the core of the European Green Deal, the EU roadmap towards climate-neutrality. Half of total greenhouse gas emissions come from resource extraction and processing. It is not possible to achieve the climate-neutrality target by 2050 without transitioning to a fully circular economy.

    The aim of the Action Plan is to reduce the EU’s consumption footprint and double the EU’s circular material use rate in the coming decade, while boosting economic growth. This will be done in full cooperation with stakeholders and business. Applying ambitious circular economy measures in Europe can increase EU’s GDP by an additional 0.5% by 2030 and create around 700,000 new jobs.

    What measures are foreseen for products?

    At present, many products break down too quickly, cannot be reused, repaired or recycled, or can only be used once. This linear pattern of production and consumption (“take-make-use-dispose”) does not give producers an incentive to make more sustainable products. The Sustainable Product Policy Framework aims to change this situation with actions to make green products become the norm. The rules will also aim to reward manufacturers of products based on their sustainability performance and link high performance levels to incentives.

    Reply
  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Voters approved a measure giving car owners and mechanics access to detailed telematics info.

    Massachusetts voters pass right-to-repair expansion opening up car data
    https://www.engadget.com/motor-vehicle-data-question-1-081059455.html

    Voters approved a measure giving car owners and mechanics access to detailed telematics info.

    One election night issue that has appears to have an answer already is the passage of Question 1 in Massachusetts, which asked voters to strengthen laws guaranteeing people are able to repair things they own. In this case, it focused on cars, preventing manufactures from locking third party repair shops and car owners out of advanced telematics data that’s increasingly being collected by vehicles via driver assistance tools.

    You can read the full text of Question 1 here (PDF), and the Associated Press projected it passed around 11 PM ET on Tuesday. iFixit called the legislation a “milestone” for the movement, seeing it as the start of a nationwide push to open up car data. According to iFixit founder Kyle Wiens, “This will be the most advanced Right To Repair law in the world, opening wireless automotive diagnostics and unleashing a world of possible apps.”

    Automakers spent millions opposing the proposal, claiming that third parties wanted to scoop up information, violate privacy and possibly enable criminal acts. A now-inaccessible but archived page on the automaker-backed Coalition for Safe and Secure Data page said “It will allow these people to access very detailed information, including how, when and where a person drives. From this information, a third party, such as a sexual predator, could stalk and/or harm victims by exploiting insecure transmissions of vehicle information.”

    Reply
  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    European Parliament Votes for Longevity, Repairability Rating Labels on Consumer Goods
    France to be first with interim labeling, from January next year, which rates goods’ repairability on a 1-10 scale.
    https://www.hackster.io/news/european-parliament-votes-for-longevity-repairability-rating-labels-on-consumer-goods-4b5af3882a87

    The European Parliament has voted in favor of consumers’ rights to repair their electronics, requiring the introduction of mandatory labeling detailing the expected lifespan and repairability of consumer goods — and France is to be the first to introduce it, rolling out labeling in January.

    The right to repair is at the heart of the hacker ethos, but the right is under threat: Manufacturers are increasingly implementing systems, ranging from digital rights management locking out third-party parts to packaging which is near-impossible to dismantle without damage and even covering lawsuits targeting third-party repair houses and those disseminating related knowledge, which look to lock people in to closed ecosystems and make devices more disposable than ever before.

    Doing so in Europe just got more difficult, though, with the European Parliament voting 395 to 94 in favor of the development and introduction of mandatory labeling which, like the energy efficiency labeling already introduced, highlights the expected lifespan and repairability of consumer goods at the point of purchase.

    While the pan-European labeling guidelines have yet to be developed, France is to be the first to implement its own in the interim: As of January next year, all smartphones, laptops, and other consumer electronics will be labeled with an “indice de réparabilité,” a label offering a score out of 10 for how repairable a device actually is — points being deducted for everything from glued-in batteries to security screws.

    Reply

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