Find out why MEPs want legislation to guarantee the right to repair and what concrete measures they propose.
Throwing away good that could be repaired has a significant impact on the environment as it leads to 35 million tonnes of waste annually in the EU. The right to repair is seen as a key step for the EU’s plan to achieve a circular economy by 2050 as part of the European Green Deal, the EU’s roadmap to reach climate neutrality by 2050.
In November 2023 Parliament adopted its negotiating position on new measures to strengthen the right to repair. The draft legislation aims to encourage a more sustainable consumption, by making it easier to repair defective goods, reducing waste and supporting the repair sector.
Parliament’s position seeks to amend a proposal of the European Commission from March 2023 on common rules promoting the repair of goods.
Four reasons for the right to repair legislation
- According to a 2020 Eurobarometer survey, 77% of EU consumers would rather repair their goods than buy new ones, but ultimately have to replace or discard them because of the cost of repairs and lack of service provided.
- Another obstacle to a more sustainable consumption is obsolescence: some products are designed to fail after a certain time or amount of use. In some cases, the components of the devices are fixed in such a way that they cannot be taken out and replaced.
- Repairs of electronic devices would be good for the environment, leading to a reduction in resource use, fewer greenhouse gas emissions and less energy consumption.
- Electronics are the fastest growing source of waste in the EU, but much of it is stil not being recycled.
Check out our infographic for e-waste facts and figures
What is the right to repair legislation about?
Parliament has been in favour of improving consumers’ right to repair for more than a decade and has made a number of concrete proposals to the Commission to make repairs systematic, cost-efficient and attractive.
Parliament’s proposals for the draft legislation aim to make repairs more attractive and available for consumers:
- Sellers should be required to prioritise repair within the legal guarantee period, if it is cheaper or equal in cost to replacing a good. The legal guarantee should be extended by one year once a product has been fixed
- Consumers should have the right to request repairs for products such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners, smartphones and bicycles after the guarantee has expired
- Replacement devices should be offered on loan for the duration of the repair
- Online platforms should help consumers find local repairers in their area
- Consumers should be offered incentives to repair products rather than replace them with new ones
- Manufacturers should grant free access to repair and maintenance information
- Information should be offered regarding the reparability of devices
Parliament is ready to start negotiations with the Council on the final legislative text, once the Council adopts its negotiating position.
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