Right to repair laws come into effect in bid to cut e-waste

The UK’s ‘right to repair’ laws, which will mandate that manufacturers of washing machines, dishwashers and other appliances provide spare parts for purchase, come into effect from today.

The new rules also include energy efficiency rules and provisions to tackle premature obsolescence – a practice manufacturers use to artificially shorten their products’ lifespan in order to encourage future sales.

While the rules come into place from today, the firms affected will have a two-year grace period to make spare parts available to consumers.

The rules are in part designed to tackle the 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste generated in the UK every year by extending the lifespan of products by up to 10 years. A study from late last year found that Britons are the second largest producers of e-waste in Europe, generating around 55kg per household annually.

The EU introduced its own right to repair rules in March that mandate that firms make their products repairable for at least a decade after coming to market.

Minister of state for energy Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “The tougher standards coming in today will ensure more of our electrical goods can be fixed rather than have to be thrown away when they stop working, putting more money back in the pockets of consumers, as we build back greener.”

Climate change minister Lord Callanan said: “We can all play our part in ending our contribution to climate change, even when we’re choosing a new electrical appliance.

“Our reforms are helping consumers make more informed decisions about how eco-friendly one smart TV or dishwasher is over another, helping us reduce our carbon footprint.”

Which? consumer rights spokesman Adam French said: “Too often electrical items end up in landfill because they are either too costly or difficult to fix, so these new rules requiring manufacturers to make spare parts more widely available are a step in the right direction and should ensure products last longer and help reduce electrical waste.

“As a next step, we want the government to extend these rules to cover more appliances, ensure the parts are available throughout the lifespan of each product and are easily affordable.”

Earlier this month, the government said it would end sales of halogen lightbulbs from September this year, with high-energy fluorescent lights to follow suit, under new climate plans.

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