‘We should repair tech gadgets, not throw them away, to protect the environment’


What do you do when your TV stops working or the food processor goes on the blink?

Chances are you take it to the tip and buy a new one, unless you are lucky enough to live close to a repair cafe.

In 2019, the UK ranked as the world’s second-largest producer of electrical and electronic equipment waste.

But now thanks to a new legally binding “right to repair” system, manufacturers of fridges, washing machines, dishwashers and hair dryers will be forced to provide spare parts for up to a decade.

Modern appliances are often glued or riveted together meaning they are almost impossible to repair. Lack of spare parts is another problem, campaigners say.

Bath Repair Cafe, where people bring broken things to be fixed for free
Bath Repair Cafe, where people bring broken things to be fixed for free

But the Government says it will introduce regulations in the summer which aim to stop the “e-waste tsunami” by making them cheaper and easier to fix.

Manufacturers will be required to make spare parts available for a seven and 10 years to reduce the 1.5 million tons of electrical waste that the UK generates every year.

But it is understood that some will only be provided to professional repair firms to ensure they are installed correctly.

They will also be required to make it easy to remove and replace parts using commonly available tools.

Modern appliances are often difficult to repair
Modern appliances are often difficult to repair

And new devices will have to come with repair manuals and be made in such a way that they can be dismantled using conventional tools when they really can’t be fixed any more, to improve recycling.

This is a really big step in the right direction to ensure our goods can be fixed rather than thrown on the scrapheap.

But the right to repair must also be expanded to include smartphones, laptops and other small electrical devices, putting more money back in our pockets while also protecting the environment.


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