Smartphones are notoriously difficult to repair, with manufacturers not releasing parts and making it easier to buy a new phone rather than fixing your old one. The European Union is attempting to put an end to these practices with their newly proposed ‘right of repair’ rules.
The European commission wants to introduce these rules to increase the recycling of electronic goods like smartphones and tablets. This is an extension of the eco-design law which promotes the idea of a circular economy. Currently this law applies energy efficiency standards to computers, TVs, dishwashers and washing machines.
“The linear growth model of ‘take, make, use, discard’ has reached its limits,” Virginijus Sinkevičius, European commissioner for the environment, told reporters, “With the growth of the world population and consumption, this linear model pushes us closer and closer to a resource crisis. The only way ahead is decoupling economic growth from extraction of primary resources and their environmental impacts.”
This removal of planned obsolescence is expected to come into effect and halve the amount of electronic waste by 2030.
The expanded legislation will apply to a wide range of products, including mobile phones, textiles, electronics, batteries, construction and packaging.
South Africa also struggles with e-waste, with the Department of the Environmental Affairs estimating a national tally of 360, 000 tonnes each year, according to Mail & Guardian.
This problem is quite significant in spite of legislation in place to tackle the issue.
The EU pushing for better use of electronic technology is part of an overall trend, which aims to reverse the linear production and consumption of technology instituted by the biggest tech companies.