2021 begins with a major change for manufacturers of electronics and appliances. Smartphones, PCs, washing machines or even televisions must now display their “repairability index” in order to warn consumers of the ease of replacing the various parts of the product.
In France, it is estimated at only 40% the number of devices that are repaired. The goal is to reach 60% within five years. For this, the government already intends to inform consumers on the ease or not of repairing a product and thus fight against the famous planned obsolescence repeatedly plastered, and against which Europe is committed. According to ADEME (agency for the environment and energy management), repairing devices would produce half the waste.
As of January 1, manufacturers and distributors of electronics or household appliances will have to post “the repairability index For different categories of products, whether sold online or in stores. Smartphones, televisions, washing machines, computers and lawn mowers are entitled to their rating.
By relying on the law on the fight against waste and for the circular economy of February 2020, France is also a pioneer in the fight with the enthronement of the repairability index long before its neighbors . A dedicated site was also launched to support the implementation.
Different rating criteria and sub-criteria depending on the devices
To set up this index, several criteria have been retained by the Ministry of Ecological Transition to define the rating system common to all devices. Other sub-criteria are added depending on the device categories. The score out of ten obtained will then appear on the product label, along with a color code from red for scores below 2, to dark green for those between 8 and 10.
The higher the score, the easier the product will be to repair and will no longer have the excuse of ending up in the trash at the slightest glitch. But you should know that it is the manufacturers themselves who evaluate their products.
The rating system
Several criteria are scored out of ten. They are accompanied by a coefficient for each sub-criterion (from 0.2 to 2). The elements taken into account to increase the rating:
- Documentation for component repair must be available for at least seven years.
- The parts must be easy to dismantle (access, tools easy to obtain, fasteners not fragile).
- Spare parts for repair must be available throughout the warranty period and the shortest possible delivery times.
- The price of spare parts should not be too dissuasive compared to new equipment.
- Specific sub-criteria according to the product category.
The index takes into account spare parts which break down or break down the most, and whose good condition is necessary to operate the device. They are then divided into two lists studied separately.
The product thus sifted through the rating obtains a result out of 100, then divided by 10 to obtain the displayed rating.
To define what is easily repairable or not, the text published in the Official Journal on December 31 mentions a list of common tools that are used for repairs (universal pliers, combination wrench, lever, hammer, voltmeter, soldering iron, screwdriver cruciform impression, glue gun, etc.). Standard tools that are used during repair. One way in particular to punish manufacturers like Apple who have long used home tools to repair their smartphones, preventing any other repairer from doing it serenely… and at a lower cost!
Smartphones and PCs, separate categories
Long pointed out for being the symbol of forced renewal by manufacturers, smartphones are among the devices with a specific order for the repairability index.
Multiple criteria are thus taken into account such as the ease of identifying the product, the disassembly diagram or in exploded view available, error or diagnostic codes, software instructions, the disassembly of the battery or cameras as well as the accessories. useful for this, the characteristics of the fixings of the various elements, but also the commitments of the manufacturer on the duration of availability of the motherboard, the microphone or the speakers.
However, there is no mention made of the software updates supported over time. Only information about the nature of the updates needs to be communicated to meet the criteria. An element that is often very detrimental for consumers who find themselves faced with the age of a device which can then be subject to security breaches or malfunctions while it was still technically usable.
The laptop repairability indexfollows practically the same logic, with also very numerous sub-criteria on removable or non-removable fasteners, reusable or not, of the various components (RAM memory, fan, keyboard, connectors, battery, HDD or SSD hard drive…).
And as with smartphones, the duration of spare parts availability (from 0 to 7 years or more) is a criterion worth a lot of points (0 point from 0 to 4 years of parts availability). At a time when technology is advancing rapidly and elements are constantly evolving, guarantee the availability in seven years of an element which will have undergone multiple improvements, miniaturizations and upscaling in the meantime to the point of being rapidly technologically obsolete. cotton ad for brands.
TVs increasingly connected and scrutinized
For televisions, manufacturers will also have to tackle their documentation and their products. Nothing but this note, with its multiple specific sub-criteria (information for professional repairers, fault detection, maintenance advice, wiring diagram, technical bulletin, etc.), out of a total of 286 points. Because for this type of device, the availability of documents and spare parts must go at least up to 11 years to obtain the best rating and not to go below seven years to grab a few points.
On the other hand, the various category 2 elements for the necessary repairs and spare parts are more basic: the remote control and the main board above all. On the other hand, with the addition of a strong dose of technology in increasingly connected screens, the criteria taken into account for the assembly of the parts and the ease of removing them and / or reuse them are numerous, of the module Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to the various connectors through the panel and the speakers or even the back cover.