When I buy a TV or a refrigerator, how long will it last? Three years? At least. Five years? Its good. A decade? This is the dream.
Well, I don’t live in the EU or UK, but a new law passed by the European Parliament will require consumer electronics manufacturers to manufacture certain devices – including televisions, refrigerators, washers and hairdryers – repairable for a decade.
We’ve all faced this problem where we couldn’t open a device because it needed special tools or its parts were stuck together. According to an Associated Press report, the new laws force manufacturers to make devices in a way that anyone can open them with conventional tools.
While we don’t have any details on what “conventional tools” mean, I’m assuming this is your basic toolbox and not axes and hammers.
Apart from that, gadget makers will have to provide repair manuals to instruct customers on how to fix these devices. Not everyone might want to read boring old textbooks, but it can’t hurt to have one, right?
The new rules also contain provisions for parts that could be repaired at home. Companies can specify these components to be repaired only through professional services.
The next step is for companies to declare the lifespan of their devices and list possible repair methods. It will also give the product design team the responsibility to think through and parts to use for readily available products. It could also prompt companies to use modular designs and shared components between products, so repairs and replacements could be easy.
The AP report notes that Europeans generate 16 kg of electrical waste per year per person – half of which comes from broken appliances. The European Union hopes the new rules will prevent these gadgets from ending up in a dump.
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Published March 2, 2021 – 11:41 UTC