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Household appliances easier to repair under new EU rules
By thinkSPAIN Team Mon, Oct 7, 2019
New EU rules just announced, and due to come into force in April 2021, will ensure that household appliances will last longer and use less water and electricity.
The legislation has been prompted by complaints from consumers across Europe frustrated by machines that break down when they are just out of warranty - the planned obsolescence controversy.
Under the EU's new standards, manufacturers will have to make spare parts, such as door gaskets and thermostats, available for a period of up to ten years.
But campaigners for the "right to repair" say they do not go far enough as only professionals - not consumers - will be able carry out the repairs. Campaigners say individual consumers should also be allowed to buy spares and mend their own machines. But manufacturers said this would raise questions about risk and liability.
Instead, manufacturers will have to ensure that key parts of the product can be replaced by independent professionals for the period stipulated - ten years for washing machines and dishwashers; seven years for refrigerators.
The new rules are aimed primarily at ensuring that appliances have a longer life, but also include provisions to make them more energy efficient, reducing the strain on the environment and saving the consumer up to 150€ per year.
The environmental issue has been one of the main priorities in this new legislation, as the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen underlined. With this legislation we are striving to "reduce the environmental footprint" and "reduce energy bills" for all European Union citizens, she said.
The new eco-design standards require washing machines and dishwashers to use less water. Star ratings for the energy efficiency of appliances will be increased. Current regulations are seen to be outdated, with more than 55% of washing machines sold in the EU ranked A+++ on the label.
The move could directly save €20bn on energy bills per year in Europe from 2030 onwards - equivalent to 5% of EU electricity consumption.
Chloe Fayole of environmental group Ecos said: “People are demanding their right to repair things they own because they’re tired of products that are designed to break prematurely.”
The new measures will also be applicable to supermarket and restaurant refrigerators, as well as vending machines. The European Commission estimates energy savings of some 167 TWh by 2030, the equivalent of the total annual energy consumption of Denmark. They will also result in nearly 50 million tonnes of CO2 emissions savings.”
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