A step closer to an open repair ecosystem?

Published on 
December 27, 2023
A step closer to an open repair ecosystem?

Presented as ground-breaking laws forcing manufacturers to make products more easily repairable and durable: a huge win for the consumers’ Right to Repair. The EU Parliament approved a solid ban on contractual, hardware or software techniques obstructing repair. Lawmakers also approved obligations on fair pricing and accessibility of spare parts. However, this is applicable only to ten product categories. And for us, well we are disappointed that the expansion to include the market for professional ICT products has not been addressed.

Nevertheless, both factors are great enablers for self-repair and independent repair, which has so far struggled to be a viable option since producers control spare parts pricing and supply. If put in place, producers will be required to provide parts at non-discriminatory price for the entirety of a product’s expected lifespan. Moreover, they will have to make repair information and tools available for all stakeholders, including independent repairers, remanufacturers, refurbishers and end-users.

As the ICT Spending by consumers is only 28%, it is critical to make sure legislation will include this into the Right to Repair: Electronic waste is growing and it’s not stopping soon.

Although Free ICT will continue to call for a B2B right to Repair, other paths are making progress.

ESPR, new paths

A wider approach to ecodesign is realised this year with the the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR). This way the EU is ready to push the most polluting goods off the market and incentivise manufacturers to prioritise the environment. To reduce the environmental footprint, manufacturers need to design with sustainability in mind.

Based on the ESPR we are focussing on Networking Equipment and Software to be included as priority product groups to be selected for the new Workingplan.

It’s not only policymakers that contribute; The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has been working on an international standard for the sustainable management of electrical and electronic waste. This standard, formally known as IEC 63395, which will be published in 2024 and is meant to work towards environmental protection by:

• providing a step-by-step approach to manage discarded electrical and electronic equipment through methodological steps and decision diagrams to assess product recovery potential.

• prioritising the recovery of functional products and components over the recovery of materials.

• setting requirements for recovery processes that protect human and environmental health, g. avoiding, reducing or substituting the use of resources which pose health or environmental risks.

While other e-waste standards and legislation mainly focus on waste management solutions and limited recycling, the new IEC 63395 standard provides a practical approach for implementing the waste hierarchy by giving precedence to repair, refurbishment, and remanufacturing over material recovery, such as recycling.

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