The right-to-repair (R2R) directive, adopted on Friday, 2 February, aims to encourage repair over disposal, thus promoting sustainability and consumer empowerment.
The adoption of this law underscores the EU’s commitment to prioritizing environmental sustainability and enhancing consumer rights in the fight against climate change. Alexia Bertrand, the Belgian consumer protection state secretary who led the negotiations on behalf of EU countries, hailed the decision as a clear choice for repair over disposal. René Repasi, the lead negotiator for the European Parliament, emphasized the benefits of easier and more affordable repairs compared to purchasing new products.
According to estimates provided by the European Commission, this law is expected to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 18 million tonnes over the course of 15 years, while also saving consumers a substantial €176 billion.
Under the provisions of the R2R directive, manufacturers will be legally obliged to repair common household products (e.g. washing machines, dish washers, coffee machines, vacuum cleaners, etc.) and smartphones. Notably, the inclusion of smartphones in the repair mandate represents a regulatory challenge to dominant manufacturers like Apple, known for restricting access to repair services.
Furthermore, the directive extends legal warranties for repaired goods and ensures that consumers are provided with essential information, including indicative repair prices. Additionally, consumers will have the option to use substitutes during the repair process, further enhancing convenience and accessibility.
While consumers are encouraged to repair products, they can still opt to purchase new ones. The European Parliament’s successful advocacy led to provisions such as extending legal guarantees and ensuring reasonable pricing, further strengthening consumer rights.
EU member states are now mandated to introduce measures incentivizing repair services, such as vouchers or VAT reduction, within 24 months from the directive’s adoption.
The passing of this law represents a significant step forward in aligning regulations with the principles of environmental responsibility and consumer welfare.