Soon in EU stores: throw away less, repair more

The European Parliament and the EU countries have agreed on the introduction of a 'right to repair', unless this is more expensive than replacement. Retailers are obliged to repair defective products within the warranty period, instead of exchanging them for new ones. 

The new EU regulation introduces an additional 12-month statutory warranty and ensures independent repairers have better access to spare parts. In addition, it prohibits manufacturers from using clauses or software and hardware techniques that hinder repair.

Furthermore, suppliers must cooperate in ensuring that technically repairable products such as vacuum cleaners, washing machines, televisions, tablets and smartphones can be repaired even after the warranty period. 

In some cases, a replacement device must be offered on loan and the warranty period must be extended after repair.

The European Union wants to ensure that fewer things end up on the scrap heap and fewer raw materials are wasted. According to Brussels, the bill could lead to 18 million tons less CO2 emissions in 15 years.

European negotiators agreed that each EU country should introduce at least one measure to promote repair, such as vouchers, information campaigns, courses or support for private repair clubs. Repair Cafés are free meetings where people help others repair broken things. There are often tools and materials available.

Once the directive has been adopted by both the Council and Parliament and published in the Official Journal of the EU, Member States will have 24 months to transpose it into national law.