Frequently Asked Questions
Electronic products have a high environmental footprint. It takes precious raw materials and considerable amounts of energy to manufacture them. When these products are discarded, all of the embedded energy as well as many materials are lost – only a small portion can be effectively recovered through recycling. This is why extending the lifetime of electric and electronic products through repair is the most efficient way to reduce their overall environmental footprint.
You can read more about this here (https://eeb.org/library/coolproducts-report/).
Most of our electric and electronic products are mass-produced in low-wage countries, and environmental or social harm are not reflected in the product’s price, these products are often very cheap. By way of contrast, repair requires a case-by-case diagnosis and repair operation by a skilled technician. Social, environmental and other regulations make labour more expensive in the EU. Also, the way products are designed often makes repair more difficult and time-consuming than it should be, and genuine spare parts are sometimes more expensive than they need to be due to the manufacturer’s monopoly.
While it is obviously not illegal for you to repair a product that you own, there is no legal framework to ensure that you can. For instance, you don’t always have the right to obtain the repair instructions, spare parts, or specialised tools that you would need to repair your product. Your right to repair stops where the manufacturer’s right to produce a non-repairable product begins.
We can’t expect the market to solve this problem. If it is more profitable for manufacturers to sell new products than to facilitate repair, only legislation can make sure that manufacturers enable us to have our products repaired, or repair them ourselves by providing the necessary tools and information.
We talk about planned obsolescence when a manufacturer consciously makes design and manufacturing decisions that results in a limited product life. This doesn’t necessarily mean that products are made to break after a certain period. If a manufacturer designs a product in such a way that it cannot be disassembled, or if they decide not to make spare parts, repair information, or software updates available, they are making a deliberate choice that results in a limited product life – the product becomes obsolete due to the manufacturer’s decision not to support its prolonged use.