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EU to promote longer lasting, more repairable products

23 March 2023, 19:40 CET
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EU to promote longer lasting, more repairable products

Vacuum cleaners - Image by Adrianokuma from Pixabay

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Commission outlined plans Wednesday to promote the repair of goods, with the aim of setting an obligation for producers to repair products' defects beyond the legal guarantee.

The aim is to enable savings for consumers and reduce waste. The Commission says the proposal will make it easier and more cost-effective for consumers to repair - as opposed to replace - goods. Additionally, more demand will translate into a boost to the repair sector while incentivising producers and sellers to develop more sustainable business models.

"Being able to trust green claims and labels on products is important," said Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius: "The proposals tabled by the Commission today will protect businesses and consumers from harmful greenwashing practices and tackle the proliferation of labels. We want to help consumers become more confident about their choices and ensure that those companies that make genuine efforts to reduce their impacts on nature, resource use, climate emissions or pollution are rewarded."

The new proposal will ensure that more products are repaired within the legal guarantee, and that consumers have easier and cheaper options to repair products that are technically repairable (such as vacuum cleaners, or soon, tablets and smartphones) when the legal guarantee has expired or when the good is not functional anymore as a result of wear and tear.

The proposal introduces a new 'right to repair' for consumers, both within and beyond the legal guarantee.

Within the legal guarantee, sellers will be required to offer repair except when it is more expensive than replacement.

Beyond the legal guarantee, a new set of rights and tools will be available to consumers to make 'repair' an easy and accessible option:

  • A right for consumers to claim repair to producers, for products that are technically repairable under EU law, like a washing machine or a TV. This will ensure that consumers always have someone to turn to when they opt to repair their products, as well as encourage producers to develop more sustainable business models.
  • A producers' obligation to inform consumers about the products that they are obliged to repair themselves.
  • An online matchmaking repair platform to connect consumers with repairers and sellers of refurbished goods in their area. The platform will enable searches by location and quality standards, helping consumers find attractive offers, and boosting visibility for repairers.
  • A European Repair Information Form which consumers will be able to request from any repairer, bringing transparency to repair conditions and price, and make it easier for consumers to compare repair offers.
  • A European quality standard for repair services will be developed to help consumers identify repairers who commit to a higher quality. This 'easy repair' standard will be open to all repairers across the EU willing to commit to minimum quality standards, for example based on duration, or availability of products.

The Commission's proposal now has to be adopted by the European Parliament and EU Council.

Proposal for a Directive on common rules promoting the repair of goods

'Right to repair' - guide

Promoting Repair and Reuse - Website

Proposal on the Directive on Green Claims

European Green Claims - guide

New rules on substantiating green claims - Factsheet

Initiative on substantiating green claims - Environment - European Commission Website

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