Consumers have become accustomed to the idea of planned obsolescence — that the things we buy will deliberately fail sooner rather than later, requiring us to buy more. But the U.K. has announced that it will implement EU rules for increasing the lifespan of certain consumer goods.
The new measures go into effect this summer and apply to appliances like dishwashers, TVs, refrigerators and washing machines. For the first time, manufacturers will be legally required to make spare parts available so that consumers can make repairs at home; hence, the nickname “right to repair law.” As MP Philip Dunne stated, “There should be no contest: consumers should have every right to fix items they own. Making spare parts available is the first step in creating a circular economy where we use, reuse and recycle products.”
Goods will also be better made and more energy efficient. This month, new energy labels were introduced with an A-G grading scale. Few products meet the high standards required for the A grade. “Simplifying the way energy efficiency is displayed on labels will help consumers to make more informed choices to reduce their energy consumption and bills,” said Emilie Carmichael, head of the Energy Saving Trust.
The new rules could extend products’ lifespan by up to 10 years. Buying products with higher energy standards may also save consumers a significant amount of money over the lifespan of their purchases. The regulations reflect agreements made two years ago by U.K. and EU member states and will apply to Great Britain. Northern Ireland will continue to apply EU laws.
“Our upcoming energy efficiency framework will push electrical products to use even less energy and material resources, saving people money on their bills and reducing carbon emissions,” said Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, as reported by The Guardian.
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