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Stand up for people’s Right to Repair

Man repairing broken smartphone, close up photo.

The time is right to change the way we produce, use and dispose of our everyday products, designing stuff that can be repaired and last longer. We demand the end of the make-take-use-throw economy.

Every day we buy products that are designed to break. It has become increasingly difficult and expensive to repair our electronic gadgets and replace key parts like a cracked screen or a weak battery.

While it is hard to assess whether companies are purposely shortening the lifespans of electronics, the proportion of defective devices being replaced by consumers grew from 3.5% in 2004 to 8.3% in 2012.

We’re depleting the world of finite resources and increasing the threat of climate change to buy things that are meant to become waste. Things we could repair or upgrade instead.

The good news is that we have an opportunity to rethink the way our products are designed and to reclaim our right to repair. As part of a European campaign for the Right to Repair, the EEB demands easy access to repair information, spare parts and repair tools. We want a better product design that makes repair possible at a reasonable price.

The EU can be a leader on this front, having already pioneered some ground-breaking laws forcing manufacturers to make certain products more easily repairable and durable. 

Facts and figures

  • The proportion of defective devices being replaced by consumers grew from 3.5% in 2004 to 8.3% in 2012 (source)
  • This may be costing German consumers €110 a month per person (source)
  • Extending the lifespans of all smartphones, laptops, washing machines and vacuum cleaners on the EU market by five years would save almost 10 million tonnes of emissions (CO2 equivalent) a year.  This is equivalent to taking 5 million cars off the roads every year (source)
  • Electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world (source)
  • Only 35% of electronic waste in the EU is collected and treated properly (source)



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