The ministry is studying the implementation of a ‘repairability index’ so that the client knows what repair conditions a product has
Nothing to use and throw away. No planned obsolescence. For many years now, the European Union has wanted products, especially electrical and electronic ones, to have an even extended useful life and in good condition. What’s more, it aims to make the sale of reconditioned second-hand products an increasingly viable and interesting option.
It was in 2019 when the European Commission decided to take some measures related to electronic devices in its circular economy strategy. under the umbrella of
European Green Deal, the Commission already announced that it would propose a series of measures for the production and distribution of these devices, encouraging the sale of reusable, durable and repairable products. There was even talk of introducing the ‘right to repair’, as a measure to combat the obsolescence of electronic devices.
In Spain, since last year the Ministry of Consumer Affairs has been working on a Repairability Index with which electrical or electronic products will be classified. The initiative consists of the creation of a seal that will accompany the product on its packaging and that will show, in a simple and visual way, to what degree it is possible or not to repair the device that you want to buy.
Each scale will have a maximum of twenty points. This index would be calculated by adding all the points and dividing the result by ten. In the calculation I would add the availability of spare parts, in addition to the relationship between the price of the spare parts and the original product. In many cases, the manufacturers provide repair facilities, but the price can be equal to or higher than new products with similar characteristics on the market.
It will be the manufacturers or importers themselves who calculate the index of the electrical or electronic devices they market, in accordance with the established parameters. The Consumer and Market Surveillance authorities will be the ones to supervise that the labeling is correct.
more informed consumers
It is thus intended that consumers can have more information when deciding their purchase. This seal will consist of graphic labeling consisting of the words ‘repairability index’ and a pictogram indicating the index score and a score between 0 and 10 points.
This labeling will include specific information on the critical components that a product may contain and its guarantees on the use of reused products.
France is the first EU country to apply it. Last year, on the occasion of World Consumer Day celebrated on March 15, Spain announced that it was working on this special ‘stamp’, but no official date has yet been given regarding its implementation.
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Until this distinction becomes a reality, the truth is that repairing a product is not always a bed of roses. Who more and who less, any consumer has ever encountered obstacles when it comes to being able to repair a product: either because the model is already discontinued, because there are no replacement parts, or because the explanations provided are too technical and complex so that the user can decide if this repair is worth it or not… or simply because the price to pay is too high or there are no alternatives for the device to be repaired except in the official house.
This, moreover, is something that happens all over the world. A recent report by the United States Federal Trade Commission, where right-to-repair movements are gaining strength, has concluded that manufacturers of any product (whether smartphones or cars) are putting obstacles in the way of repairing their products, making it more difficult and expensive than necessary.
In his studio,
‘Nixing the Fix’Repairs often require specialized tools, hard-to-obtain parts, and proprietary diagnostic software, which can hurt consumers and independent repair companies. “Consumers whose products break have limited options” about where to get them repaired, he says.
Recipes to implement the ‘right to repair’
The Cotec Foundation, whose mission is to promote innovation as an engine for economic and social development, believes that the so-called ‘right to repair’ of consumers should be based on
Among them, the incorporation of reuse and circularity criteria in public tenders for contracts, the creation of an electronic passport that specifies the traceability of the product (origin, composition, possibilities of repair and disassembly and management at the end of its life cycle) and, along with this, a single label on reparability, an idea in line with the one that Consumption intends to implement.
It also calls for new green employment initiatives focused on reuse and repair in rural areas, with the aim of favoring the permanence of the population in rural areas through the creation of new business opportunities of a circular nature, especially giving priority to repair and reuse initiatives.
Finally, they underline from the aforementioned foundation that this ‘right to repair’ is an obligation on the part of the manufacturer of the devices, for which it even claims that the legislation contemplates that it guarantees that its product has been designed so that it can be repaired.
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