The European Commission is currently planning its next steps in order to improve the design of game consoles and printers in the EU. Both products have been self-regulated by the industry for nearly a decade in order to avoid legal requirements, and both groups have failed to deliver. It is high time to reverse this trend, and this is where you can help!

Why printers and game consoles?

Printers and game consoles are two of the three product groups that have escaped legal ecodesign requirements in favour of the so-called Voluntary Agreements between industrial actors. In joining such an agreement, the manufacturers committed to improve the design of their products voluntarily. However, no tangible commitments on repairability have been made to date.

Greatly lacking ambition, the existing self-regulatory instruments have led to nothing more than the selling the “business as usual” scenario as an achievement, with no genuine contribution to limit the environmental impact of the two product groups. In the meantime, the disconcerting trends of throwaway culture and planned obsolescence are continuing to lead to environmental degradation and wasteful use of precious resources. Printers, for instance, are thrown away after 5 years or less, in large part because of increasingly integrated designs. To make matters worse, microchips included in many modern cartridges make printer consumables difficult to reuse and recycle, and majority of them end up in a landfill (read more on the Coolproducts website).

There is hope, however, as the voluntary agreements are currently under review. On 12 December, civil society, industry actors, Member State representatives and the European Commission will come together to discuss this issue, which will hopefully lead to the adoption of ambitious legal requirements. This would not only allow to at long last address the throwaway culture resulting from the lack of the right to repair, but also to tackle the growing problem of e-waste in general. If backed with a sufficient degree of ambition, the new laws could help solve a number of problems – introducing requirements for ease of disassembly of printers and game consoles, spare part availability, as well as provisions on software updates.

What can YOU do to make game consoles and printers easier to repair?

As part of the European Right to Repair Campaign, ECOS, with the help of the European Environmental Bureau, are currently assessing the proposed changes to the Voluntary Agreements and, following the meeting of 12 December, will prepare a draft position of the wide range of environmental stakeholders.
What can you do in the meantime? Spread the word about the need for boosting the repairability of printers and game consoles and let your national policymakers know about it too – it is the national governments that have the final say after all.
Do you have any relevant information or data on the two product groups? Would you like more information on what you can do at national level? Get in touch! Contact Ernestas OIdyrevas for more information and how you can engage further.

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