The European Commission has proposed new rules requiring manufacturers to offer repair services for their products, such as washing machines and televisions, even after the warranty has expired, for five to ten years after the sale. The rules would also apply to refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, and other items considered “repairable” under EU law. The Commission is currently discussing extending these requirements to cover smartphones and tablets.
The proposal aims to combat the high levels of waste generated by consumers and businesses in the EU, much of which consists of items that could have been repaired or reused. According to a German Federal Environment Agency survey, the lifespan of products, including televisions and major household appliances, has decreased in recent years. Some products are not designed to be easily repaired, while for others, buying a new product is cheaper than repairing the old one.
The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) welcomed the initiative but called for an extension of the legal warranty period for products with a long lifespan, such as refrigerators. The proposal must be debated and approved by member states and the European Parliament, typically taking more than a year.
“Consumers are tired of being forced to throw away products that could easily be repaired, generating unnecessary waste and costing them more money in the long run,” said Monique Goyens, Director General of BEUC. “This proposal is a step in the right direction towards more sustainable consumption and production.”