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Thursday, December 3, 2020

UK and Europe push for customer 'right to repair'

Top companies criticised for "dodging their environmental responsibilities"

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), one of the Parliamentary Select Committees in the UK House of Commons, has published a report on Electronic Waste and the Circular Economy. It says the UK is "lagging behind other nations in embedding a circular economy of use, reuse and recycle for small electronics".

Amazon and other major online retailers were criticised for not collecting or recycling electronics in the way 'bricks and mortar' businesses are obliged to. It's called on web-based marketplaces to collect and recycle products at no cost to the consumer.

In addition, the EAC says "Tech companies such as Apple have been found to glue and solder together internal components making any repair nearly impossible". It recommends that a 'right to repair' is enshrined in UK law, with VAT reduced for repair services.

The Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, said "For too long companies like Amazon and Apple have been dodging their environmental responsibilities for the products they sell. Too many devices sold and made by these companies have a limited, and sometimes decreasing, lifespan and end up in bins, eventually going to landfill or incineration. There is no chance of precious metals being retrieved, which could quickly become a huge problem as the rare and disappearing materials are crucial for renewable energy such as wind turbines, solar panels and electric car batteries. Repairing and recycling must become commonplace for electronics."

In a separate development, the European Parliament has voted to boost environmental sustainability by promoting reuse and repairs. It also wants consumers to have a 'right to repair', wants more support for the second-hand market and has reiterated its ongoing desire to see a universal charger system implemented by rechargeable devices. As well as promoting repair and recycling, it says consumers should be told the estimated lifespan of a product when they buy it.
Author: The Fonecast
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