When I buy a TV or a refrigerator, how long will it last? Three years? At least. Five years? That’s good. A decade? That’s the dream.
Well, I don’t live in the EU or the UK, but a new law passed by the European Parliament will force consumer electronics makers to make some appliances — including TVs, refrigerators, washers, and hairdryers — repairable for a decade.
We’ve all faced this problem where we couldn’t open an appliance because it needed special tools or its parts were glued together. According to a report from Associated Press, the new laws require manufacturers to make appliances in a way anyone can open them with conventional tools.
While we don’t have any details on what “conventional tools” means, I’m assuming it’s your homely basic toolkit and not axes and hammers.
Apart from this, gadget makers will need to provide repair manuals to instruct customers on how to fix these devices. Everyone might not want to read boring old manuals, but it can’t hurt to have one, right?
The new rules also have provisions for parts that might be thought to fix at home. Companies can specify these components to be repaired through professional services only.
The next step would for companies to declare how long their appliances will last and list possible repair methods for them. This will also give the product design team the responsibility to think and parts to use for products that can be easily available. It might also drive companies to use modular designs and shared components across the products, so repairs and replacements could be smooth.
AP’s report notes that Europeans generate 16 kg of electrical waste per year per person — and half of it from broken appliances. The European Union will hope that the new rules will stop these gadgets from ending up in a dump.
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