Modern technology is great with all that you can do with it, but what isn’t so great is that it doesn’t tend to last very and ends up being inevitably thrown out for something newer and fancier every few years. Gone are the days of the Nokia 3310 which is probably still working and has a few bars worth of battery life since you last charged it in 2004. This wasteful approach to technology is something which the European Commission wants to address, with work on stricter measures being discussed. If successful, these new rules will force mobile companies to make and support their devices for longer.
Many of us have already started moving away from the typical contract models to just buying phones outright to avoid the need to replace them every two years, but with prices escalating and the need to stay compatible with the latest software and features all the time, this does prove difficult. Especially considering you can’t easily upgrade these devices and need to rather replace them completely when you want to go faster.
It also generates a lot of waste which is why the European Commission wants to try and introduce wide-ranging product initiatives that also cover textiles, plastics, packaging and food with the aim of helping the trading bloc become climate neutral by 2050.
As well as introducing new “right to repair” rules, the European Commission also wants products to be more sustainably designed in the first place. Under the new plan, products should be more durable, reusable, upgradeable and constructed out of more recycled materials. The EC hopes to reward manufacturers that achieve these goals. Finally, the EC is also considering introducing a new scheme to let consumers more easily sell or return old phones, tablets, and chargers. The details of how this last one works though is yet to be ironed out. The EC introduced “right to repair” rules for household appliances like televisions and washing machines last year. I like the way the EC thinks, not just because it is better for the environment, but hopefully better on the pocket too, though no doubt capitalism will find some way to profit off of this.
Let’s hope more companies take up the fight and reward manufacturers for making products that last longer rather than just making more money for reselling us the latest thing every two years.
Last Updated: March 13, 2020