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New law supports a more circular economy in France

21 April 2015

In an effort to reduce the number of consumers that dispose of electronic products the moment a problem occurs, French law-makers are pushing for a new directive that would require manufacturers to label products with information on how they can be repaired. Manufacturers would need to state how long spare parts will be available, and would be required to offer free repair or replacement for the first two years after purchase.

An earlier law that required the life-span of the product to be stated on the packaging was deemed to be unworkable, due to the difficulty of predicting how long a product will last. The availability of spare parts is considered a useful compromise, as it offers a telling clue as to the product’s probable life-span.

The French government has also indicated that it wishes to prohibit the practice of “planned obsolescence”, whereby companies design products that will intentionally break or become unusable after a certain period of time, in order to sell more units. If the law is successful, those guilty of the practice could face a fine of €300,000 or up to two years in prison. How this would work in practice, however, remains to be seen.

For more information, visit the Co.Exist website.