The ‘Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Regulations’ better known as the ‘Right to Repair’ has now come into force. After calls for household appliances and electrical gadgets to be more repairable, the law has been put in place to ensure that companies selling consumer electronics need to ensure these goods can be repaired for up to 10 years.
Our blog on how the ‘Right to Repair’ affects you, outlines the details of the law and what it means.
Although these changes are a huge step in the right direction, there are still calls for stricter rules for manufacturers and more items to be added to the list. As the law is now in place, we take a look at how far we have come and what is still left to achieve.
What we have achieved so far
Support for the ‘Right to Repair’ movement was astonishing. Over 40 organisations such as The Restart Project come together with environmental activists, social economy actors and self-repair advocates to campaign against the barriers that prevent us from repairing the items we own. Their mission began back in 2019 and gained heaps of interest from citizens around Europe who backed the campaign in the hope of change.
Finally, in March 2021, the government announced the measures to be put in place for household items to become more repairable. According to the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Regulations 2021, these are the three main changes:
Manufacturers will have to ensure appliance spare parts are available for up to a decade. However, some of these parts will only be provided to professional repair companies to ensure they are installed correctly and stand the test of time.
New devices will have to come with repair manuals to provide the consumer with the know-how to fix their appliances themselves. Again, some of these will only be provided to professional repair companies.
Appliances will have to be made in such a way that they can be dismantled using conventional tools. This not only improves their fixability but also improves recyclability when they really can’t be fixed anymore.
What’s next to do?
Although the new legislation brings some exciting news, there is still a long way to go to ensure our ‘Right to Repair’ really means what it says on the tin. Here are some things we would like to see happen next with the movement.
Include all electrical items
The current regulations only apply to new models of household appliances including televisions, lighting, fridges, washing machines and dishwashers. It fails to include small appliances such as vacuums and electrical devices such as smartphones and laptops. While the EU is currently preparing to bring repairability requirements to more items such as these, there has been no commitment to do this in the UK.
Guaranteed access for all
Although there is the promise to make spare parts and manuals available, it seems that some of these will only be provided to professional repairer companies and not to consumers or community repair initiatives. In order for more people to repair and not replace, these spare parts need to become accessible to all.
When purchasing an appliance, people should be fully informed of its repairability, should something go wrong. This information would encourage manufacturers to be honest about the repairability of their products and provide support to their customers as well as helping consumers make more informed decisions.
How you can get involved
Join the fix-it community
Join the fight by actively learning how to repair and not replace your household items. You can do this by visiting our YouTube channel which has hundreds of video tutorials on how to fix your appliances yourself. For smaller, electrical items, check out any Repair Parties near you that will provide everything you need to fix your items and save cash and the environment.
Stay up to date
The Restart Project has launched a new petition for the ‘real right to repair’ which includes the changes above. Find out more about their petition and sign it here.
Being able to repair our own items is so important for our community, our environment and our pockets too! Let’s all join the movement and together, we can really achieve the ‘Right to Repair’.