The European Union has taken some interesting steps for the right to repair with its latest announcements. In 2019 he already looked at electrical appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators or televisions. It adopted a regulation that will come into force in 2021. Easily repairing this type of household appliances has been one of the traditional claims of consumers. But if we focus on mobile devices, the main claim is to be able to change the battery of your smartphone without complications.
Something as simple as what happened with traditional mobiles, when the Internet had not yet broken into our pocket. The new Circular Economy Action Plan of the European Union gives these devices the right to repair. For now, the document released by the EU is only a roadmap. But it is expected to have an important influence on the laws of the member states.
Before its presentation, a leak of a draft of the European document pointed out this obligation to the manufacturers of smartphones, tablets and wireless headsets, so that the battery could be easily changed in all cases. The debate is between industry and consumers, who have different interests. And that’s where the regulator comes in to lay the foundations from which to reach an understanding.
The main problem of smartphones has been the battery practically since its inception. It is short duration limits its use over time, it requires you to carry the charger or an external battery. Not only that. As the months go by, the year is up and, if it arrives, we reach two years, the duration has plummeted. This is when the time would come to change it.
But this circumstance is usually not possible or is complex. The industrial design is not designed so that you can change the battery of your smartphone. This is positive for manufacturers and sellers because purchases of new devices are encouraged. Also for industry workers.
It is not positive, however, for consumers, who have to spend on a new mobile. Unless they resort to repair shops to charge the battery. But the consumer pocket is not the only concern. The trade-off between allowing easy repair of a mobile phone and making it difficult has an environmental background.
Changing the battery of your smartphone is not only a financial saving
There have been smartphones with a modular design, which allowed the user to change certain parts when they were worn. Among them, the battery is among the most valued, needless to say. But they have been exceptional movements that have not prospered at a general level. For this to happen there has to be an industrial consensus.
Until then, the incentive to dispose of user terminals and buy new ones is also harmful to the environment. And it is that more new devices mean more contamination because more materials are extracted from the mines. But also because factories operate at full capacity, releasing emissions into the atmosphere. And there is another added problem. If used smartphones are thrown away, this means that a significant part of them will become electronic waste.