The European Commission has announced a new measure this week that will impact products placed on the market from 2021, including refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, lighting, monitors and televisions.

It includes requirements for repairability and recyclability to improve product life span, maintenance, re-use, upgrade, recyclability and waste handling. The measure will also ensure products use less energy.

By ensuring new products are easily disassembled using common tools, and that spare parts are readily available to professional repairers, it is anticipated that there will be a reduction in demand for new products. This will in turn reduce carbon emissions associated with manufacturing, distributing, using and disposing of new products.

The new energy efficiency requirements will also help EU households save around €150 per year, contributing to a saving of 5% of annual EU energy consumption for both consumers and businesses.

‘Bin the throwaway trend’

The UK government previously voted in favour of these standards and the Resources and Waste Strategy released last year indicated that the UK will meet or exceed EU standards on resource efficiency.

Whilst we await confirmation on whether the UK will adopt similar measures, producers selling into the EU must plan accordingly to ensure they comply with the new rules.

Director general of BEUC, the European Consumer Association, Monique Goyens, commented “The new repair requirements will help improve the lifetime of everyday appliances that currently fail too quickly. It is crucial we bin the current ‘throwaway’ trend, which depletes natural resources and empties consumers’ pockets.”

“It is excellent news that consumers’ health will be better protected, thanks to fewer flickering light bulbs and the removal of harmful flame retardants in TV screens. The EU has started with five products that most consumers own at home and we strongly encourage legislators to make more product categories repairable.”.

Find out more about international compliance.