The European Union has taken a major step towards establishing stronger rules for the “Right to repair” law, and the European Parliament voted in a historic step in support of consumers’ right to repair.
A resolution on the sustainable single market was adopted by 395 votes to only 94, with 207 abstentions.
The vote represents the latest major push towards the European Union’s larger goals of making devices last longer and reducing e-waste.
Earlier this year, the European Union Commission announced new plans for a “right to repair” law for phones, tablets and laptops by 2021.
Now that the European Parliament has approved the original proposal of the European Commission, the ball is back in the Commission’s court.
The European Commission must now develop and introduce mandatory labels in order to provide consumers with clear, visual and easy-to-understand information about the estimated life of the product at the time of purchase and the possibility of repair.
The decision also calls for an increased availability of things like repair instructions and spare parts for both independent repair shops and individual consumers, in order to better facilitate repairs and extend the life of the devices.
There is some time before the EU Commission puts in place the actual rules, and it is likely that a lot of questions will be answered about what form these final rules take in terms of things like product labeling.
In January, France introduced repairable ratings for smartphones, laptops and other products, and Austria cuts taxes on repair services while subsidizing consumer repairs.
The EU proposal calls for degrees of repair, similar to the findings that the iFixit platform has devoted to devices over the past 15 years.
According to a recent European Bloc survey, 77 percent of EU citizens prefer repairing their devices over replacing them, and 79 percent believe manufacturers should be legally obligated to facilitate digital devices repair or replacement of their individual parts.
This vote shows that the right to repair is supported by opinion polls as well as the European Parliament, and the European Commission now needs to capitalize on this momentum and move forward quickly.