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Preventing goods that are "made to break"

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Preventing goods that are "made to break"


In this edition of U talk, Damien from Paris asked: “What is Europe do to avoid the planned obsolescence in consumer goods?”

The question was answered by Lydie Tollemer, legal advisor at the European Consumer Centre.

“So far, the EU has not put in place specific means to fight against planned obsolescence in consumer goods; some actions are currently being taken by member states.”

“Indirectly, the EU is addressing this issue through 3 directives: the (European) directive on batteries and accumulators which asks manufacturers to install removable batteries in their mobile phones, laptops and more generally in all their electronic devices.

“There’s also the European directive on eco-design which asks manufacturers to design eco-friendly products, for instance products that can be re-used.And there is the European directive on waste which sets up a waste treatment hierarchy starting with waste prevention, reuse, recycling, energy recovery from waste incineration for instance, and finally waste disposal.”

“The European Consumer Centre considers that it’s urgent to act and to turn consumers into responsible consumers so as they are aware and informed about the products they buy.”

“That’s why the European Consumer Centre advises manufacturers to have to disclose the real lifespan of their products, for instance the number of charging cycles (= for a battery) or the number of washing cycles (= for a washing machine), or the maximum service life for a car.”

“Manufacturers should also have to give information on the possibility to repair the products they sell, and on the availability of spare parts and accessories. And finally, everybody should be encouraged to recycle their old devices.”

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