Towards the Right to Repair in Europe

URGENT UPDATE – 27 Sept

Partners in Brussels are warning us that the crucial vote described below may be delayed for at least two years – or never happen. This decision will be made very soon. Sign/share a petition: DE |UK | IT

We co-signed a letter to President Juncker with fifty-four other organisations and companies. #SaveThePackage

 

 UPDATE – 10 Oct

Success: the European Commission decided not to postpone the vote by the Council of the European Union vote (where each member country votes). However, members states could still water down the measures significantly, or vote against. Therefore, we need to maintain our mobilisation and pressure, especially on Germany, Italy and UK which are blocking. All petitions above are still fully relevant.

Later this year, all 28 European Union member states will vote on a new eco-design “package” of proposed regulations, an event that could set a very valuable precedent to push for a Right to Repair movement in the EU.

Eco-design measures can bring real progress towards better repairability of electricals and electronics, a key goal for the Open Repair Alliance. They can directly influence the durability and repairability of our products, for example making products more energy-efficient and designed to be easier to repair.

A big opportunity and a precedent

The upcoming vote is particularly important given that it could require, for the first time, that manufacturers of washing machines and dishwashers to be sold in the EU provide spare parts for 7 years and access to repair information.

While these measures would be restricted to these white goods, typically not repaired at community repair events, they would set a crucial precedent which could in the future be extended to other devices. And chances are that Europe’s move could contribute to the adoption of similar regulation elsewhere in the world.

This vote also marks a special opportunity for the United Kingdom, as it will likely be the last chance it has to contribute to ecodesign regulation before leaving the EU as a result of Brexit.
repair laptop

Learning from the US

The Right to Repair movement is growing stronger in the United States, while in Europe it is in very early stages, despite the popularity of Repair Cafes and community repair in general. The upcoming ecodesign package follows a 2017 resolution from the European Parliament which encouraged the European Commission, as well as member states and manufacturers, to improve the durability, quality and repairability of our products. Given the importance of the EU market, ecodesign measures have the potential to benefit other countries, including the US.

At the same time, Europeans have a lot to learn from the US Right to Repair campaign, which is bringing together consumers and independent repair businesses, as discussed in a recent conversation between Ugo Vallauri, co-founder of Open Repair Alliance member The Restart Project, and Nathan Proctor, Director of US PIRG’s Right to Repair campaign.

What the Open Repair Alliance can contribute

With these conversations happening at EU level,  Open Repair Alliance members can contribute with their experience and data, particularly on the issue of spare parts. This data can help illustrate the importance of spare parts not just for white goods, but for other devices too, and open up discussions about their availability and their affordability. Open Repair Alliance members collect data on repairs, and are giving priority to adopting a more standardised collection of spare parts information in events such as Repair Cafes and Fixit Clinics around the world.

Get involved

If your repair organisation or community repair group would like to get involved in our effort to mobilise in support of Right to Repair, please sign up to our email list.

7 Comments

    David Jones

    It should be our right to self repair our own property

    Almut

    I dont wanna have more stuff. I don’t wanna buy and buy. I want to repair!

    20 Ottobre 2018 è "Repair Day", per il diritto di poter riparare - Il Blog di Michele Pinassi

    […] l’Italia, insieme all’Inghilterra e alla Germania, a livello europeo sono ostili all’introduzione di normative che permetterebbero al consumatore di poter intervenire in […]

    Frank Carman

    I think repair workshops should start at school. The children would enjoy and find it a great practical form of learning skills of how everyday items work and be fixed. It would be a great success.

    Steve Swift

    I have only recently become aware of the right to repair movement. I’m particularly incensed by tales of “bundling” spares, such as having to pay £110 for a pump when all that is needed is a cheap rubber seal.
    It seems to me that in such cases, I should have the right to contact the organisation which last handled the necessary piece, and have the right to buy it from them.
    Failure to supply the necessary details should fine the bundling organisation the cost of their bundle, at the very least.

    Robert Alexander

    We’ve recently had a copy of the EU’s updated Preparing for Reuse Standard, not yet published, but soon will be. We did a critique from a White Goods perspective, and picked up safety flaws in this protocol. We have combined in the company over 60 years of White Goods Repair Training and Recycling. As the owner of a New EEESafe White Goods Qualification (training material) and approved by an international Awarding Body, we think we can contribute a lot to this Right To Repair debate. We support the right to repair, but equally we feel it should come with some recognised depth of knowledge. This is what our award winning standard is for, but it also is linked into our Sustainable LocalitEEE model to engage businesses and communities working closer together in a Circular Economy. Currently we have picked up around 12 different issues with many being about safety, in the EN50614 Protocol, which is part of the EN50625 series of standards published at the European commission. We’ve sent our critique back to British Standards Institute for comment, and we’ve also included further dialogue to Wrap, as it completes it’s 3 year EU funded programme on Critical Raw Materials. Our vision is Community Repairers living on the Housing estates of the world, operating to a safer standard, that is part of a business and community model. Together we can give consumers a Trust in the White Goods arena and help create thousands of skilled individuals to operate to that standard, where they live.

    We are developing two new sites to help launch this model and recruit new EEESafe Training Centres to deliver the local skills and qualifications needed to make safer repairs but equally deliver local environmental and social metric outcomes attributed to the people where they live. You can look at a short presentation to give you some idea on the model and how EEESafe is doing due diligence at a holistic level. http://bit.ly/localitEEE

    We are not funded, but we came close to a European H2020 bid with other consortiums in the EU over 18 months ago. We will remain open to opportunities, but equally your organisation may also find it useful to work with us now and in the future.

    Colin lester

    Latest comments here are from October 2018. Is nothing happening in 2019?

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