European Commission moves forward with plan for more repairable equipment and less electronic waste

The European Commission approved on March 11 a new action plan for the circular economy where it presents a series of measures that want to make the way manufacturers and users deal with electronic devices more sustainable. Among them is the implementation of a right to repair, with a view to extending the useful life of equipment and preventing the accumulation of devices and functional materials in dumps.

In the plan presented, Brussels indicates that electrical and electronic equipment remains one of the largest sources of waste in the countries of the European Union. It is estimated that less than 40% of all garbage of this kind, in fact, is recycled.

Since many consumers are forced to buy new equipment, such as a smartphone, because it is not repairable, the dumpsters end up accumulating vast amounts of lost value. The plan states that two out of three European citizens would like to continue using their devices for longer, as long as there are no negative impacts on performance.

Thus, the European Commission intends to present a Circular Electronic Initiative composed of five measures with a view to a more sustainable future. To achieve the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, we need to preserve the environment, and to strengthen our economic competitiveness we need a truly circular economy, says Frans Timmermans, vice president of the European Commission and one of the leading leaders of ecological policies in Europe , quoted in a statement.

The initiative proposes regulatory measures for equipment such as smartphones, tablets and portable computers within the scope of the ecological design directive. The European Commission states that the devices must be developed to have greater energy efficiency and durability, and they must also be reusable or recyclable.

The right to repair in the electrical and electronic devices sector is seen by Brussels as a priority, as is the right to update software that is considered obsolete. In addition, consumers will have more access to information about the products they buy, to ensure they make more sustainable and environmentally friendly choices. Improving the collection and treatment of waste and electronic equipment is another of the European Commission's priorities.

The news comes after the European Parliament approved, in late January, a measure that prevents a single charger for smartphones, tablets and other equipment.

The document states that the measure must ensure the interoperability of different wireless chargers with different mobile devices; increase the amount of cables and chargers collected and recycled in the Member States; and ensuring that consumers are no longer forced to buy a new charger with each new device. This is a strategy that aims to disconnect the purchase of new mobile equipment from chargers, but avoiding that consumers have to pay more.