At the current time, we have a highly inefficient system. There is no requirement as to how long technology is required to last. In the past, that has perhaps been less noticeable, as the advance in the capabilities has been so fast, that an upgrade generally became desired long before the product wore out.
However, there has been an alarming trend which has seen manufacturers removing manuals to allow products to be serviced, and or sealing parts of the product, so that batteries cannot be replaced or in some other way making DIY fixing hard or impossible.
The EU is bringing in this law to change this. Encouragingly, while the UK has left we will have to meet these standards if we wish for our products to ever be allowed to enter the EU. A further rule, requires the ability to take the product apart using standard tool – it is not allowed to have a unique tool, and then never sell it (or charge too much for anyone to buy it). They have also required that replacement parts must be available for a decade after the product stops being sold.
This is partly to tackle the alarming quantity of waste that EU residents create. On average we produce 16kg of was electronics each year. Another move coming soon, is a requirement for manufacturers to state how long something is expected to last, and to repair it up until this date.
We have all experienced that infuriating position, where the warranty ends and the product dies just one month later – prompting customers to accuse the manufacturer of planned obsolescence. Furthermore, this will force manufacturers to compete on durability as well as cost – and give the customers a better idea about what they are actually paying for.
This can only be a good move, though lawmakers must keep an eye on attempts to get around these new laws. If this can reduce waste significantly it will be well worth it.