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.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More news

13 November 2019

Many organisations, individuals, politicians, consumer organisations and producers have already realised that there is something wrong with the numbers of products thrown away . The e-waste we produce annually is as large as 4500 Eiffel towers and recycling cannot keep up the pace of the waste production. Meanwhile repair offers a solution to keep products […]

18 October 2019

On Tuesday October 15th, some activists of the Right to Repair campaign transformed the statue of Mercator in Brussels into ‘Mercator the repairer’ by adding bright yellow painted repair tools to it.  Rosalie Heens from Repair and Share, one of the organisation involved says:  “With this playful action we want to highlight the importance of […]

18 October 2019

For several months now, Google has been blocking advertisements from independent repairers, as opposed to those from manufacturers and their authorised repairers. In June, Runder Tisch Reparatur, supported by 17 other organisations and over 700 repair shops, turned to the EU Commission’s Competition Directorate in order to draw attention to Google’s behaviour. The EU’s chief […]

7 October 2019

Extending the lifespan of smartphones and other electronics by just one year would save the EU as much carbon emissions as taking 2 million cars off the roads annually, a new study reveals. Experts have assessed the climate benefits of making Europe’s smartphones, notebooks, washing machines and vacuum cleaners more durable. The study found that […]

7 October 2019

A host of household appliances including TVs, fridges, freezers and washing machines will be easier to repair after new EU laws were formally adopted on the 1st of October. For the first time, manufacturers will be obliged to make their products easier to take apart and fix. Companies will also need to provide spare parts […]

7 October 2019

For the past few years, environmental organisations, repair businesses and citizen activists from around the world  have had enough of a system that makes repairing electronics particularly hard and contributes to million tonnes of e-waste being sent to landfills every year.  Grassroots repair cafés and restart parties are providing repairs for products where there is […]