A range of potential eco-design measures has been consulted on by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), that if adopted will reflect progress made in the EU.

Covering a wide range of domestic and industrial electronic products, including dishwashers and televisions, a summary of responses is expected to be published soon. This consultation is part of the government ambition to encourage circularity and longevity of electronic products, a instrumental part of which is to encourage repairability to reduce planned obsolescence.

It is expected that measures promoting circularity will form a significant part of this year’s consultation on reforming the current legislation, and may well inform future target setting methodology.

Durability and reparability

Parliamentary under-secretary in BEIS Paul Scully stated that such measures “Aim to improve the resource efficiency of energy related products and this will include ensuring that spare parts are available for a minimum of seven years after the placing of new products on the market.” The measures will also ensure that parts can be replaced with the use of commonly available tools, tackling premature obsolescence. “We are also seeking powers through the environment bill that will enable government to require products to carry information, for example relating to product lifetimes, durability and reparability.”

Other countries that have led in this area include France, that has already implemented regulatory tools to tackle short product lifespans and within other international WEEE regimes it is high on the agenda. We can expect that the consultations, planned to be released in quarter two of this year, will propose several policy interventions to change the way electronic equipment designed and manufactured. This is especially considering the Environmental Audit Committee’s report published last year, urging Government to take action.

As always we will update our members on future consultations and legislative reform. In the meantime, if you have any questions about future WEEE producer responsibility, please contact our team.