Important EC vote on washing machines, spare parts, and precedent for Right to Repair

From the Open Repair Alliance website - feel free to comment here or there.

Towards The Right To Repair In Europe

Later this year, all 28 European Union member states will vote on a new eco-design “package” of proposed regulations, an event that could set a very valuable precedent to push for a Right to Repair movement in the EU.

Eco-design measures can bring real progress towards better repairability of electricals and electronics, a key goal for the Open Repair Alliance. They can directly influence the durability and repairability of our products, for example making products more energy-efficient and designed to be easier to repair.

A big opportunity and a precedent

The upcoming vote is particularly important given that it could require, for the first time, that manufacturers of washing machines and dishwashers to be sold in the EU provide spare parts for 7 years and access to repair information.

While these measures would be restricted to these white goods, typically not repaired at community repair events, they would set a crucial precedent which could in the future be extended to other devices. And chances are that Europe’s move could contribute to the adoption of similar regulation elsewhere in the world.

This vote also marks a special opportunity for the United Kingdom, as it will likely be the last chance it has to contribute to ecodesign regulation before leaving the EU as a result of Brexit.
repair laptop|770x514

Learning from the US

The Right to Repair movement is growing stronger in the United States, while in Europe it is in very early stages, despite the popularity of Repair Cafes and community repair in general. The upcoming ecodesign package follows a 2017 resolution from the European Parliament which encouraged the European Commission, as well as member states and manufacturers, to improve the durability, quality and repairability of our products. Given the importance of the EU market, ecodesign measures have the potential to benefit other countries, including the US.

At the same time, Europeans have a lot to learn from the US Right to Repair campaign, which is bringing together consumers and independent repair businesses, as discussed in a recent conversation between Ugo Vallauri, co-founder of Open Repair Alliance member The Restart Project, and Nathan Proctor, Director of US PIRG’s Right to Repair campaign.

What the Open Repair Alliance can contribute

With these conversations happening at EU level, Open Repair Alliance members can contribute with their experience and data, particularly on the issue of spare parts. This data can help illustrate the importance of spare parts not just for white goods, but for other devices too, and open up discussions about their availability and their affordability. Open Repair Alliance members collect data on repairs, and are giving priority to adopting a more standardised collection of spare parts information in events such as Repair Cafes and Fixit Clinics around the world.


Just to say there is an urgent update to this post. Looks like this vote might be indefinitely postponed soon, because Germany, the UK and Italy are blocking.

Please take time to sign/share…



Would someone like to help @ugo generate a petition for Italy, and push it out through the appropriate networks?


Is there a Redditor in the house? @Ten? @benski?

We could use some help disseminating the UK petition there. Check this out :star_struck:

1 Like

Here’s Guardian coverage of happenings in Brussels - a decision was not taken this week, and will instead occur “at the highest level”

Perhaps we finally have a good “villain” in this story. Just read Selmayr’s Wikipedia entry (let’s hope he hasn’t edited it too much :laughing:)

1 Like

If you have time to go deeper, all is explained here by our partners in Brussels and Ugo

1 Like

Just an update.

The measures ‘survived’ but have been watered down - including stripping of the rights of DIY repairers. Latest drafts speak only of “professionals”. Duration of access to spare parts has also been shortened.

Votes by European member states are scheduled from 9-10 December (fridges) and 7-10 January (washing machines and dishwashers).

Meanwhile the Italian petition has over 76,000 signatures and will be delivered by Italian Restarters to the Minister of the Environment. And the German petition promoted by repair activists created a real stir, with over 108,000 signatures. We couldn’t get any help from 38 Degrees to promote ours, or any media outlets, so we’ve been focusing on the Manchester Declaration instead.

And new studies from the UK and Europe have revealed overwhelming public support for measures for more repairable products.

Finally some UK coverage in a New Statesman urbanism blog

Whatever the outcome of Brexit, the UK government should keep working with the EU to raise product standards. It has the perfect opportunity to up the ambition and the pace of change in its new resources and waste strategy, which is due imminently. Putting an end to the frustrations caused by premature obsolescence and unnecessary packaging is something easily within its control. And it is a policy the vast majority of us would be united in supporting.

And in BBC, although you have read right down to the bottom

“Right now there are eco design standards which tell you how energy efficient your TV or washing machine should be,” he explains.

"We think these products should have minimum ‘resource efficiency’ criteria telling you that this washing machine will last longer, will be easier to repair and easier to dismantle at the end of its life.

“The EU has announced an eco-design working plan that commits over time to resource efficiency, so they are committing to do it, so although we are Brexiting, I struggle to see how we cannot tune in to that market.”

We’re working on guest op-ed for Boing Boing, and more media possibilities over coming weeks.

We’ll share more soon!

1 Like

Here’s an excellent update by our Brussels partners

Tracked changes to the measures, which undermine repair and specifically target DIY repair - if you are interested please read and circulate.

@Stuart_Ward is cited here! :fist: when repair gets political!

Thanks Janet. I read that through and then saw your comment. only then did I see the quote. Well spotted.

Great quote, Stuart!

In case anybody else in Europe or the UK gets a chance to brief media, I’ve created some straight-forward media talking points here:

Let’s keep the pressure up!

Here are our last updates before the key votes Right to Repair votes starting Monday.

We’re planning something that we hope will get media attention in Brussels, so watch this space!

We also just heard via a journalist that one big tech lobby in Brussels is refusing to answer questions on Right to Repair, alleging the topic is “too emotional” :laughing:

:eu: Open Repair AllianceRepair Together translated into :fr: @ssebti @panda


1 Like