Right to repair: the EU’s actions to make repairs more attractive

After pushing for it for years, MEPs have adopted legislation that guarantees the right to repair products that can be fixed.

Throwing away goods 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 April 2024, the Parliament adopted the directive on the right to repair that aims to encourage more sustainable consumption by making it easier to repair defective goods, reducing waste and supporting the repair sector.

René Repasi, the German S&D member in charge of steering the legislation through Parliament, said: “Consumers’ right to repair products will now become a reality. It will be easier and cheaper to repair instead of purchase new, expensive items. This is a significant achievement for Parliament and its commitment to empower consumers in the fight against climate change.”

It will be easier and cheaper to repair instead of purchase new, expensive items.
René Repasi (S&D, Germany)
MEP in charge of steering the right to repair legislation through Parliament

Four reasons for the right to repair legislation

  • 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.

    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 European Commission to make repairs systematic, cost-efficient and attractive.

    As recently as April 2022, Parliament called for a legislative proposal from the Commission for a right to repair covering long-lasting products that can be fixed. The Commission put forward a proposal in March 2023.

    The new legislation aims to make repairs more attractive and available for consumers:

    • Sellers will 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 will be extended by one year once a product has been fixed
    • Consumers will have the right to request repairs for products such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners and smartphones after the guarantee has expired. The list of product categories eligible for repair can be extended over time.
    • Replacement devices should be offered on loan for the duration of the repair. If a device proves irreparable, consumers may opt for a refurbished unit as an alternative.
    • A European online platform with national sections will be set up to help consumers find local repairers in their area
    • Consumers will be offered incentives to repair products rather than replace them with new ones
    • Consumers should be offered harmonised set of information details regarding the reparability of devices so that they can assess and compare repair services

    The directive complements other new EU rules on ecodesign, marking a shift toward a more consumer-friendly and environmentally conscious approach.

    Next steps

    Following the Parliament's approval, once the Council endorses it, the directive will be published in the EU Official Journal. EU countries will then have 24 months to transpose it into their national laws.

    More on what Europe does to achieve a circular economy