Apple, Amazon and other tech giants could soon be banned from limiting the lifespan of their devices and be forced to provide repair manuals and spare parts.
A new report from the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has accused Amazon and Apple of “dodging their environmental responsibilities for the products they sell”, calling on the government to impose new laws to limit the growing prevalence of ‘e-waste’.
According to the report 155,000 tonnes of waste electricals end up going to landfill every year due to devices having an intentional “limited, and sometimes decreasing, lifespan”.
The EAC has urged the government to force manufacturers to label products with their expected lifetimes, including how long they will receive security and software updates.
Products should also receive a “repairability score”, while a “right to repair” should be made into law forcing manufacturers to issue repair manuals, produce affordable spare parts, and make it easier for repairs to be made without specialised tools.
Furthermore, the EAC has recommended that VAT on the repair of electrical goods be reduced to make it more appealing.
“Too many devices sold and made by these companies have a limited, and sometimes decreasing, lifespan and end up in bins, eventually going to landfill or incineration,” the committee’s chairman Philip Dunne MP said.
“There is no chance of precious metals being retrieved, which could quickly become a huge problem as the rare and disappearing materials are crucial for renewable energy such as wind turbines, solar panels and electric car batteries.
“Repairing and recycling must become commonplace for electronics.
“In our report today, we have set out how the Government can achieve a circular economy for electronics – from VAT changes making repair more attractive, to the onus being placed on online marketplaces when delivering new products to collect old items they are replacing.”