It really sucks when you buy a new gadget, accidentally break it, and then wonder how to fix it because it uses some proprietary parts that only the official repair has available (or isn’t fixable at all), with buying a new one ending up as a better option than repair.
Smartphones are infamous to this, second only to Apple’s Mac computers. For a long time there has been a “Right to repair” initiative that is fighting for consumers having the right to access tools and parts for fixing their products. On the European Union (EU) level, there has been a working group that has spent the last 3 years coming up with a document that would standardize the repairability, reusability and upgradeability of “energy-related products”. As iFixit reports, the document was accepted and now the EU has a standard that defines the previously mentioned traits of products.
The categories standard define ranges from A to E, where, simply said, A is a product that is easily repaired with common tools and E is an unrepairable product. Details are in the table above.
What is left to done is apply the standards to different product groups, so it will take some time until every product could get a standardized repairability label. France, for example, will require a 1 to 10 repairability label on smartphones starting next year, with manufacturers already having the ability to use the label voluntarily this year. It is expected that once the work groups agree how to apply the standard to each product category, such labels should be required across the EU. The question is how long will it take?
I personally full support this idea and just like with energy certificate on appliances, such labels will help customers make more informed purchase and hopefully support companies with pro-consumer behavior.
You can find more details about this standard in iFixit’s article here.