Smartphone owners are being given new rights to have their device repaired under laws introduced by the European Union that could put an end to "throwaway culture".
Stephane Arditi, EEB Policy Manager for the Circular Economy, said: "The Circular Economy Action Plan can be a turning point for sustainability and climate action in Europe, which will hopefully inspire the rest of the world".
The European Commission has proposed introducing new laws which will improve the "right to repair" of electronics devices.
By extending the lifespan of products, via measures which target design and production to encourage fix, reuse and recycling, the policy push aims to reduce resource use and shrink the environmental impact of buying and selling stuff.
The laws will help achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, as the disposal of mountains of electronic waste (e-waste) emits harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. So many laptops, mobile phones and other devices are hard to fix and are simply thrown away when a single module or component breaks.
'With today's plan we launch action to transform the way products are made and empower consumers to make sustainable choices for their own benefit and that of the environment'.
The Action Plan also aims to restrict single-use products and packaging, halt shipments of waste outside the European Union, ban the destruction of unsold durable goods, provide consumers with more reliable information on the sustainability of products and packaging, and offer stronger "right to repair" rules.
One particular focus will be on avoiding waste altogether and transforming it into high-quality secondary resources - all part of a circular economy.
Reaction to the Circular Economy Plan was mixed, with Friends of the Earth Europe saying it contains a "patchwork of some positive initiatives on how we produce, consume and dispose of resources and products but will likely fail to prevent runaway resource overconsumption".
Whereas society today, Timmermans said, remained "mostly linear", with only 12% of secondary materials and resources being brought back into the economy.
A more circular economy, however, will mean disposed components, both from renewable and non-renewable resources, are increasingly returned to manufacturing facilities.
The proposals are part of a circular economy action plan that's meant to deliver on a Commission pledge to transition the bloc to carbon neutrality by 2050.
The Commission said that electronics and ICT will be a priority area to implement a right of reparation, through the planned expansion of the Eco-design directive, which now sets energy efficiency standards for devices such as washing machines.
It says that consumers would prefer to fix their devices rather than buy new ones after a few years, but repairs are often too hard, expensive or even impossible for this to happen.
The Circular Economy Action Plan, which would need to be approved by member states and MEPs before it is adopted, is aimed at "making sustainable products the norm", paving the way for a raft of new legislation governing specific consumer products and appliances, the Commission announced yesterday.
'Promises will now need to be matched with concrete initiatives'. Half of total greenhouse gas emissions and more than 90% of biodiversity loss and water stress come from resource extraction and processing.
Altogether, the wide-ranging the package of circular economy measures aim to reward manufacturers of products based on their sustainability performance, and to embed "right to repair" principles in European Union consumer and product policies by 2021, according to the Action Plan.