The European Commission’s flagship Circular Economy Action Plan, adopted in March 2020, has set out to address the entire life cycle of products and tackle their premature obsolescence notably by promoting the right to repair for ICT products. 

In addition to mobile phones, laptops and tablets, the Commission had rightfully identified printers as a particularly wasteful product, and committed to tackle them by means of a dedicated regulatory instrument “unless the sector reaches an ambitious voluntary agreement” by September 2020.

Nearly one year later, the discussions on the voluntary agreement have not yielded any tangible results.

Voluntary approaches clearly do not work. We need strong regulatory action now.

Chloé Mikolajczak, campaigner for the Right to Repair campaign

Printers are one of the most iconic examples of premature obsolescence and some of the least repairable products brought to community repair events. According to data from the Open Repair Alliance, only 37% of printers get repaired at events, while 33% are deemed end of life. 

Meanwhile, printer cartridges are a major source of uncontrolled proliferation of electronic waste in the EU. 100,000 tonnes of e-waste are created each year in the EU due to limited reuse and remanufacturing of cartridges, suggests analysis of the data from a report for the European Commission in 2019.

We are therefore calling on the Commission to reject the voluntary agreement and to start working immediately on mandatory requirements addressing both the durability and repairability of printers as well as the reusability of cartridges.

This is why this morning, we piled up end-of-life printers in front of the European Commission in Brussels. Our #LongLiveThePrinter action was attended by representatives and members of our campaign but also by 4 Green MEPs who want ambitious measures to make sure we can have longer lasting and more repairable printers!

Photo by @Francois Dvorak