Most of us would love to keep using their existing phone when it breaks. Unfortunately, we’ve all experienced how hard it is to fix smartphones: lack of available spare parts, high prices, inaccessible components… It quickly becomes more appealing to replace them despite their massive environmental and social impacts.
This has to change!
We have a historic opportunity to get smartphones regulated by the EU so they can become more easily repairable, last longer and avoid prematurely joining the 50 million tons of e-waste we discard every year.
The European Commission is currently developing 2 key policies: the new Circular Economy Action Plan and the Ecodesign Working Plan.
These policies will set the priority for the EU on material efficiency and on reducing the environmental impacts of products, in line with the anouncements in the recently launched Green Deal.
We are asking the EU to include smartphones in its Ecodesign working plan to be released later this year and to enshrine this commitment in the Circular Economy Action Plan to be published on March 4th.
Why Ecodesign matters?
Ecodesign policies have so far largely focused on improving products’ energy efficiency in the use phase: by reducing the amount of energy they consume. However, last year’s round of regulations for the first time included repairability criteria for home appliances such as TV, fridges and washing machines.
It’s time to extend this approach to smartphones as well as other consumer electronics products such as tablets and computers.
Why are smartphones crucial?
Smartphones are extremely political. They’re the iconic product the majority of us use and generate billions in profit to the big manufacturers that produce them. Because of this, regulatory efforts in this area have so far stalled.
Ensuring smartphones are more repairable by design and that access to spare parts, repair information and long-term security updates is available to all repairers and consumers is absolutely essential. 6,7 smartphones are sold per second in the EU and making sure they have the longest life possible is crucial for the environment.
The annual climate impact of Europe’s stock of over 600 million smartphones is more than 14 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, more than the annual emissions of Latvia.
Due to energy intensive processes and rare metals involved, some 80% of the direct climate impact of smartphones results from the manufacturing stage. Yet, smartphones tend to have a much shorter average lifetime than other household electronic and ICT products, with the average phone lasting a mere three years before being replaced. Keeping them in use for longer is the most effective way to reduce their impact.
We are convinced Europe is the best place to make a real universal Right to Repair reality, and to inspire other regions of the world to adopt similar measures.
The environmental and social economic benefits of extending the lifespan of our electronics have been proven and we now expect action from policy makers to address this.
Sign our petition and put pressure on the EU to put an end to the throw-away economy.