The EU’s new ‘Right to Repair’ laws could change the design of phones, tablets

Earlier this year, the EU moved forward with its controversial proposal to force smartphone and smart device manufacturers selling products in the region to use one singular charging port standard – much to Apple’s protestations. Now the bloc is progressing with an even more ambitious idea – to introduce ‘right to repair’ laws that may force manufacturers to alter the designs of their products.

The Circular Economy Action Plan, as it’s known, would introduce right to repair legislation with the view of ensuring that smart products have greater longevity. Principally, smart devices affected by the ruling would have to include recycled materials and be easier to reuse or repair, or instead, recycle.

That would mean that manufacturers would need to share information related to the durability of their products – as the commission cites, the bill’s introduction would see “single-use will be restricted, premature obsolescence tackled and the destruction of unsold durable goods banned”.

In a statement to the press, commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius quipped that “the linear growth model of ‘take, make, use discard’ has reached its limits…  With the growth of the world population and consumption, this linear model pushes us closer and closer to a resource crisis. The only way ahead is decoupling economic growth from extraction of primary resources and their environmental impacts.”

The idea, while arguably morally sound, would likely face stiff opposition from device manufacturers. Beyond the measure of sharing detailed insights into their own designs ahead of release, the introduction of the bill would likely threaten the mobile industry’s very revenue model – and potentially introduce design ramifications such as the idea of the modular smartphone, which has fallen by the wayside in recent years.

What are your thoughts? Would you support the introduction of the bill or oppose it? Let us know your opinion in the comments below!