The European Commission advocates new rules for repairing smartphones and tablets. Draft proposals, published last week, require manufacturers to provide at least 15 components to professional repairers within five years of the release of a new smartphone in the European Union. This means customers will have guaranteed access to replaceable batteries, back panels, front and rear cameras, audio jacks, charging ports, microphones and speakers, SIM and memory card trays, and more.
Extending the life cycle of a smartphone or tablet by five years is roughly equivalent to taking 5 million cars off the road, reports Financial Times. However, this is not an easy requirement for consumers, as electronics manufacturers release newer and better models every year.
“The steep increase in the demand for smartphones and tablets, combined their increased functionality, has resulted in increased demand for energy and materials needed to manufacture these devices on the EU market,” the president of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, wrote in the proposal. “In addition, devices are often replaced prematurely by users and are, at the end of their useful life, not sufficiently reused or recycled, leading to a waste of resources.”
If passed, the initiative would also introduce new energy efficiency labeling for smartphones and tablets, similar to those already in place across Europe for TVs and large appliances. Labels will indicate expected battery life, include information about water and dust protection, and rate the device’s resistance to drops and scratches.
Those manufacturers unable or unwilling to supply batteries for five years must instead pass a set of durability tests certifying that devices retain 80% of their rated battery capacity after 1,000 full charge cycles. They will also need to certify that software updates will never negatively affect the battery life of the devices.