15 February, Dessau – A minimum period of service life as well as better labelling and reparability are needed to address the ever-shortening lifetime of electrical goods, according to the German Environment Agency (UBA).
A UBA study found that electrical products tend to break more quickly than a decade ago, with the proportion of appliances that are defective within five years after purchase having doubled, from 4% to 8%. The trend is “ecologically unacceptable”, says UBA President Maria Krautzberger.
With shorter product lifetimes having significant resource efficiency implications, the European Commission will look to address the issue within the Circular Economy Package. Requirements regarding product reparability, durability and recyclability have been promised.
In order to ensure higher quality products with a longer service life, the UBA advocates the creation of a minimum period of durability for all electronic and electrical appliances. Mandating easy-repair design and ensuring the availability of spare parts are also suggested.
Consumer habits also contribute to shorter product lifetimes. To help consumers make more informed purchases, the UBA proposes a system of labelling which displays the life expectancy of a product.