To curb Europe’s waste problem, consumers must be able to use their products for longer. In an important development for the right to repair, the European Parliament just approved a new battery regulation. The progress made on battery removability and availability is a step in the right direction, although the affordability of repair must still be addressed – in both the battery regulation and the European Commission’s linked “Right to Repair” proposal.
Cristina Ganapini, Coordinator of the Right to Repair Europe campaign, said: “In a big success for the right to repair, all new portable devices and light means of transport put on the market will now have to be designed with replaceable batteries. In many cases users will be able to replace them themselves. Manufacturers will also have to make batteries available as spare parts for 5 years after placing the last unit of a model on the market. The text states that spare batteries must be sold at a reasonable and non-discriminatory price, and we will keep a eye on OEMs to make sure that this is actually implemented.»1
Ugo Vallauri, Co-Director of the Restart Project, said: “We also celebrate that manufacturers will no longer be able to use the unfair practice of part-pairing in batteries, which they use to attempt to control what spare parts should be used for repairs. This is something that the Right to Repair campaign has demanded for a long time – we advocate for this level of ambition for all spare parts.”
Thomas Opsomer, Policy Engineer for iFixit, said: “We will keep watching out for industry pushback and unnecessary exemptions. Some stakeholders are trying to use the exemption for products used in wet conditions to avoid compliance with removability requirements. This might lead to devices such as electric toothbrushes, and potentially wearable electronics, not having user replaceable batteries after all. This exemption is based on unfounded safety claims, as there are many products already on the market that operate in wet conditions with easy to replace batteries.Think of underwater flashlights for instance.”
The Right to Repair campaign will stay in contact with the institutions throughout the development of implementation guidelines to make sure that as many products as possible are covered.
(1) Quote modified on 14/06/2023
German version of this reaction HERE
Cristina Ganapini, Coordinator of Right to Repair Europe