Producers of computers, smartphones and other electronic appliances find ways to cut the useful life-spans of their products. Faced with this programmed obsolescence and the high cost of repairs and spare parts, consumers have little option but to replace their appliances whenever something goes wrong.
An own-initiative report adopted in Strasbourg on Tuesday highlighted the high environmental cost of constantly buying new products, rather than repairing them.
“Resources are precious today, all kinds of resources,” said French Green MEP Pascal Durand, the author of the report. Durand denounced the manufacturers of “products that stop working as soon as the legal guarantee is up”, and called on the European Commission to take action.
Durand’s report proposes a number of measures to improve the sustainability of electronic products and software. Among them is a proposal to establish “minimum resistance criteria” for each product category. A European definition of programmed obsolescence would also have to be adopted to provide a benchmark against which these criteria could be evaluated.
Repairing rather than replacing