Electronic waste is quickly becoming a concern for governments and individuals alike. On the 1st of July 2021, laws aimed at extending the lifespan of common household appliances and reducing the electrical waste produced by the UK.
What does the right to repair bill do?
The right to repair bill ensures manufacturers produce spare parts for household appliances for up to 10 years after they have been made obsolete. By passing this legislation the UK hopes to reduce the amount of E-waste produced by ensuring appliances are repairable by repair professionals and consumers at home. Manufacturers have been allowed two years to begin abiding by the new laws.
How does the legislation affect professionals and individuals?
The legislation directs manufacturers to keep all basic parts available for purchase by individuals looking to DIY the repair job for up to 10 years after release, but it also allows repair professionals to buy more parts for appliance repair jobs. Hopefully, by making the repair process easier and more accessible to all the UK can begin to reduce the amount of electronic waste is producing. In 2019, The UK was estimated to have produced the second-highest amount of E-waste per capita worldwide, with only Norway producing more.
Issues with the Right to repair bill
While the legislation is a step in the right direction – there are still some loopholes manufacturers can exploit to encourage consumers to buy new appliances rather than have them repaired. For example, manufacturers are obligated to provide the spare part for any appliance within 15 days, that length of time might be fine for a kettle, but not for essential appliances like refrigerators, cookers, ovens, hobs washing machines and tumble dryers.
It would be difficult to go more than two weeks without the use of the fridge, cooker or washing machine, especially if you have a family!
The Right to Repair bill also doesn’t include smartphones and laptops – Apple has been under the spotlight for the difficulty of repairing their products in recent years, with minimal effort from the manufacturer to alleviate the issues.
The future of the legislation
The legislation currently will help to reduce the need to buy new appliances due to repair being impossible, or purchasing a new model being more cost-effective. Although the new law will only cover these appliances:
- Washing Machines and washer-dryers
- Refrigeration appliances
- Televisions and other electronic displays
Oddly, smartphones and laptops do not come under this section of “electronic displays”. Which are an issue MAC and Apple fans have been impeded by in recent years.
Overall, the Right to Repair laws are a step in the right direction, with some additions such as tumble dryers and smartphones, the law could begin to put real power back into the consumer’s hands and be very beneficial for the environment. The practice of replacing electrical appliances in the home is very damaging to the environment – and the consumers’ wallet.