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Published On: Fri, Mar 11th, 2016

The end of equipment that breaks down just after warranty. EU is changing customer law

Defective and too perishable electronic equipment is not only additional expenses for consumers, but to us all. To counteract EU wants to compel the producers to the manufactured equipment was longer lasting and repairable.

The life cycle of electronic equipment and household appliances from year to year appears to be getting shorter. This is confirmed by research report published in 15 February German anti-fraud Environmental Office published report which show inter-reality, that the number of home appliances that broke down within five years from buying increased in recent years strongly, from 3.5% in 2004 to 8.3% in 2013.

EU electronic waste exceeding 15mln tons annually

According to the authors of the report, experts from the Research Institute and the Bonn University, Institute Oeko  in 2004 mention average life of washing machines was 16 years old, and in 2013 is already nearly three years less. Fridge in 2004. r. was not incorruptible after 15.5 years of use in 2013-14 just after 7 years.

An employee arranges discarded computers at a newly opened electronic waste recycling factory in Wuhan

An employee arranges discarded computers at a newly opened electronic waste recycling factory in Wuhan, Hubei province March 29, 2011. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), e-waste is the fastest growing commodity in the waste stream, with a growth rate five times that of other parts of the business such as industrial waste.

Product tests, it appears that corrupts most electric toothbrushes for teeth, namely stop working not built in rechargeable batteries. Similarly is the case, for example. car navigation says Piotr Koluch, head of the foundation Pro-Test dealing with the testing of products.

Spoil the often small items such that it does not pay. For example, 80% of the failure of the vacuum is broken because of the brushes on engine. The brush is also a critical element when it comes to washing machines. Like a small portion and prejudge the vitality of the whole equipment. The other thing that people have become accustomed to exchange equipment and on average every two years to buy a new smartphone, although old still works.

Louder also complain product manufacturers. The so-called contingency planned products rely on this is that the producers deliberately limit the lifespan of equipment produced by it available to propel consumption. Manufacturers deny, but the EU and so decided to take action and fight the unreliability of equipment within the framework of the economy in a closed circuit.

Because repair is often unprofitable (the cost of repair exceeds the value of the device), and sometimes even impossible (because for example, spare parts are missing), usually lands on the scrap heap. From an ecological point of view is not acceptable, says Chairman of the UBA Maria Krautzberger.

It has meant not only that electro-garbage is expensive and difficult in the rendering, but that production of new equipment is extra energy consumption and thus emissions of additional pollutants and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Growing up electro-garbage worry not only scientists and conservationists, but also politicians.

The EU produces 15 million tons of electro-garbage each year, of which 5 million tons is not properly processed. Let us remember that this waste with high toxicity, having a negative impact on both the environment and our health alert German MEP Jo Leinen, Member of the Commission of the European Parliament. Protection of the environment is essential to reduce the number of electro-garbage as whole, and this can be achieved only if the device will work longer and if will streamline the process of collection and treatment. In December last year, the European Commission presented a new package of proposals on the economy in a closed circuit (also called circular economy). In accordance with its goals time depart from the existing linear economic approach: take-use-throw away, and go in the direction circulating approach, assuming as the longest use of products and reduce the amount of waste by recycling, recovery and reuse them. Simply put: use longer-process-recover what you can, and use again. As a result, the “circular economy” wants to slowly eliminate products that cannot be repaired or reused (including defective electronics), considering them to be contrary to your assumptions.

Directive on Ecodesign, also called eco-design, which assumes the liability of producers for life products, their maintainability and ability to reuse. The directive shall also apply to producers to improve the labeling of equipment (that is, not only for determining the length of the warranty, but the expected life span of the equipment) and the provision of spare parts for at least a decade from the time of purchase.

Manufacturers are afraid to decrease sells and profits.

“Ecodesign Directive seems to be a good tool when it comes to increasing requirements to durability of the products” says MEP Leinen.

How to use it to fight the planned “controlled aging” of the products? As they say specialists, you can impose on producers of the expensive obligation to dispose of broken equipment or to extend the duration of the warranty.

A good idea may be the legislation extending the warranty period-agree Leinen. Important change is an overall EU policy of production should be based on products designed to be durable, repairs