Monthly Archives: April 2024

More Progress on Right to Repair

Back in October 2023, an event was held to remind European Parliament members of the issues in repair. On Tuesday 23 April 2024, the European Parliament eventually adopted the directive on the so-called “right to repair” for consumers with 584 votes in favour, 3 against and 14 abstentions. “The rules clarify the obligations for manufacturers to repair goods and encourage consumers to extend a product’s lifecycle through repair.” Whilst it is still short of what is really needed, it represents another step forward, providing:

– Manufacturer has to repair a product for a reasonable price and within a reasonable timeframe after the legal guarantee period

– Access to spare parts, tools and repair information for consumers

– Incentives to opt for repair, such as repair vouchers and funds 

and, online platforms will assist consumers in finding local repair services and shops selling refurbished goods.

There are now 30 US States considering or implementing a Right to Repair. four states have enacted a right t Rep[air for consumer electronics. One of the most comprehensive being that passed by Gov. Tina Kotek in Oregon, on 27 March 2024.

On the 17 April, the UK Environmental Audit Committee met to take oral evidence and an update on progress ‘electronic waste‘ as a follow up to a review in 2020. Input was provided by National Association of Waste Disposal Officers, Back Market, iWaste, Beko, Royal Society of Chemistry, Material Focus and Green Alliance. In summary, there has been some limited progress, but there is so much more that can be done.

Recent government proposals remain focused on recycling, rather than repair and reuse. It remains difficult for people to access reuse and repair services, and recycling is the least desirable approach for WEEE. A good summary by the Committee Chair, Philip Dunne – “It appears the government is yet to grasp fully the scale of the e-waste tsunami“. It would seem so.  

On 7 May, there will be a UK Parliament Repair Cafe with an opportunity to engage members of parliament in the importance of repair and an improved right to repair. It will also be an opportunity to increase awareness of the Repair Declaration, re-launched at FixFest in 2023.

Given the recent progress in several US States and in Europe, it is an opportunity for the UK Government to step up and make meaningful progress. There are already solutions out there. There are already organisations in place to provide repair and reuse services. We just need better rights.