Right to repair law comes into effect saving families money on white goods – how it works

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In a bid to tackle electrical waste, the right to repair law will see items like fridges, washing machines and televisions cheaper to run, easier to repair as well as lasting longer under new energy efficiency rules. The move will tackle the 1.5million tonnes of electrical waste the UK generates each year.

Landfill is a growing problem for the world with high levels of methane gas and CO2 generated by the rotting rubbish, contributing to climate change.

The new law on electrical products tackles “premature obsolescence”, which is a short lifespan deliberately built into an appliance by manufacturers which leads to unnecessary and costly replacements for consumers.

An average washing machine typically lasts up to ten years, while a television is said to have a lifespan of about five to seven years, equating to 40,000-60,000 hours. 

Previously, when an electrical item broke, Britons would find it easier to replace the item rather than repair it due to manufacturers not storing spare parts.

This was due to new technology being released all the time.

However, under the new law, manufacturers will now store spare parts so that white goods and electrical items can be replaced easily.

It means anyone buying white goods or electrical items can find spare parts for their products in case the item breaks out of warranty. 

The Government also estimates that the change will save the average family around £75 a year on energy bills.

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The new law follows on from new energy labels which were introduced back in March to help Britons find out the efficiency of their products.

Energy efficiency labels have now ditched the A+, A++ and A+++ scale and will now be indicated on a A-G scale.

At the time the labels were introduced, Climate Change Minister, Lord Callanan said: “We can all play our part in ending our contribution to climate change, even when we’re choosing a new electrical appliance.

“The new energy labels we have introduced this week will help consumers make more informed decisions about how eco-friendly one smart TV or dishwasher is over another, helping us reduce our carbon footprint and build back greener.”

The new labels also raise the bar for standards, with little appliances and electrical items being labelled with an A.

Minister of state for energy, Anne Marie Trevelyan said: “The tougher standards will ensure more of our electrical goods can be fixed rather than have to be thrown away when they stop working, putting more money back in the pockets of consumers, as we build back greener.

“Our new energy efficiency framework will mean electrical products use even less energy and perform just as efficiently, saving people money on their bills and reducing carbon emissions as we work to reach net zero by 2050.”

Adam French from consumer group Which? said electrical items end up in landfill too often “because they are either too costly or difficult to fix”.

He added that the new rules “should ensure products last longer and help reduce electrical waste”.

It is thought that “simple and safe” repairs will be available directly to consumers, such as door hinges, replacement baskets and trays for fridge-freezers.

Meanwhile other parts which involve more difficult repairs will be available to professionals only.

This includes a motor or heating element in a washing machine.

Items included under the new scheme include fridges, washing machines, dishwashers, electronic displays including televisions, light sources and separate control gears.

Electric motors, power transformers and welding equipment are also included and have a right to be repaired.

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