Taxes & Law

Against the throwaway society: EU Commission wants the right to repair

Fatih-Kağan Taşkoparan

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First bought and then thrown away again - from cell phones to printers and televisions: wherever a lot is bought, there is also a lot of waste, especially electronic waste. The problem is that it is often difficult or impossible to repair. The European Union wants to move away from this throwaway culture and is planning to make it easier for consumers to repair devices, thereby avoiding 18.5 million tons of greenhouse gases and 3 million tons of waste in 15 years.

Right to repair: Commission introduces new consumer rights for simple repairs

We've all been there: the bathroom is under water because the washing machine has broken down. The technician's diagnosis: it's not worth repairing it, it's better to get a new one because they are also much more energy efficient. However, discarded products are often still usable goods and can usually still be repaired. Every year, this results in around 35 million tons of unnecessary waste, 30 million tons of wasted resources and 261 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, according to the recent Eurobarometer survey shows. 

The EU has been planning for some time to free consumers from this misery and wants to provide them with a new package of rights and instruments in addition to the warranty rights already in force. The Proposal of the EU Commission is also intended to support the objectives of the European Green Deal.

Incentives for repair

  • For consumers it should simpler and more cost-effective to repair goods instead of having them replaced if the statutory warranty has expired or the goods are no longer functional due to wear and tear.
  • In this way, the EU legislator aims to increase demand for the Boosting the repair sector and at the same time for manufacturers and sellers Incentives create, More sustainable business models to develop.
  • If products are technically repairable under EU law, consumers should be given a Claim against the manufacturer have the appliance repaired. 
  • Manufacturers:inside are subject to the Duty to inform and must inform consumers which products they must repair themselves.
  • Matchmaking repair platform on the InternetFurthermore, a platform should make it easier for consumers to contact repair companies and sellers of refurbished appliances in the region and thus increase the visibility of repair companies.
  • European form for repair information: Repairers must provide a European repair information form that creates transparency with regard to repair conditions and price and makes it easier for consumers to compare repair offers.
  • European quality standard for repair services: The aim is to help consumers identify repair businesses that are committed to higher quality. 

Parliament, which had already repeatedly called for a right to repair, supported the proposal, as Der Spiegel reports reported. The Commission proposal must be adopted by both the European Parliament and the Council.