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The EU now has rules that say household appliances must be easier to repair – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology

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(Chrissie Kremer, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you through The European Sting’s collaboration with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Sean Fleming, Senior Writer, Training Content


Millions of electrical appliances in Europe will soon have to be made easier to repair, thanks to new rules to encourage manufacturers to design products with the circular economy in mind.

From washing machines to vending machines, the Ecodesign Directive will extend the life of many appliances by ensuring that spare parts are easier to obtain. Manufacturers will have to stock spare parts for up to 10 years and ensure they are delivered quickly.

The new directive is partly a response to customer complaints that it is easier and cheaper to replace certain equipment than to repair it, due to the lack of spare parts, the complexity of repairs or the high price of parts. spare.

  • Refrigerators
  • Washing machine
  • Dishwasher
  • Electronic screens (including televisions)
  • Separate light sources and control gear
  • External power providers
  • electric motors
  • Commercial refrigerators with a direct vending function (such as those in supermarkets or cold drink vending machines)
  • Power transformers
  • Welding machine

The move also includes requirements to improve energy efficiency. By 2030, the introduction of stricter targets is expected to reduce energy consumption by 167 TWh, which is Denmark’s annual energy consumption.

This will result in a reduction of more than 46 million tonnes of CO2, making “a direct contribution to the implementation of the Paris Agreement”, according to the European Commission.

Consumers across Europe could collectively save €20 billion on their energy bills a year from 2030. And there will be water savings too, thanks to changes to washing machines and washing machines. – household clothes dryers. Around 711 million m3 of water could be saved per year.

E-waste (discarded electrical or electronic devices) is now the fastest growing source of waste in the world. About 50 million tons are produced each year. But only about 20% are disposed of properly. Moving towards a circular economy model, emphasizing reuse rather than replacement of items, could be one way to solve the problem.

Circular economy

What is a circular economy?

The world population is expected to reach nearly 9 billion people by 2030, including 3 billion new middle-class consumers. This places unprecedented pressure on natural resources to meet future consumer demand.

A circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. It replaces the concept of end of life with restoration, moves towards the use of renewable energy, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals and aims for the elimination of waste through superior design of materials, products, systems and business models.

Nothing that is made in a circular economy becomes waste, moving away from our current linear “take-make-throw” economy. The potential for innovation, job creation and economic development of the circular economy is huge: estimates point to a trillion dollar opportunity.

The World Economic Forum has worked with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for several years to accelerate the transition to the circular economy through the MainStream project, a CEO-led initiative that helps scale circular economy innovations focused on people. companies.

Join our project, part of the World Economic Forum’s Shaping the Future of the Environment and Natural Resource Security System initiative, by contacting us to become a member or partner.

There are more washing machines in Europe than cars, each typically containing between 30kg and 40kg of steel. However, the build quality and reliability is not the same for all machines. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, longevity is measured in wash cycles, ranging from around 2,000 for entry-level machines to 10,000 for high-end appliances.

The longer a machine stays functional, the lower its lifetime washing cost will be.

Commercial devices get more use and tend to last longer.

Commercial devices get more use and tend to last longer.

Image: public domain CC0

The European Commission’s new “right to repair” rules are likely to be particularly welcome news for the repair and maintenance sector. While manufacturers will have to make spare parts widely available under the Ecodesign Directive, they will only have to supply them to professional repairers.

Although repairs should be possible using readily available tools and without damaging the device, according to the European Commission, anyone hoping to get their hands on repair devices may be disappointed.