Electronic devices: the repairability index is gaining ground

A major element of the law against waste defended by the French government, the repairability index will see its field of action widened. This index appeared on January 1, 2021. Its purpose is to get consumers to take an interest in the lifespan of their devices.

It originally covered only five types of products: televisions, laptops, smartphones, door washing machines and lawnmowers. On Wednesday May 4, several decrees published in the Official newspaper formalized its extension to a series of new products: top-loading washing machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and pressure washers.

→ EXPLANATION. The government wants to promote the repairability index

Within six months, so in November 2022, manufacturers will be required to display this index on products in these categories offered for sale. The HOP association (Halte à l’obsolescence programmed), which participated in the development of the repairability index, indicated in a press release “welcome this extension” while inviting “continue the expansion work by including more everyday objects”. The association cites printers in particular.

60% of devices repaired by 2025

At the origin of this index, an alarming finding: in 2020, only 40% of broken down electrical and electronic devices are repaired. A figure that the government wants to increase to 60% by 2025, consulting the main players (manufacturers, distributors, consumer associations).

The index is presented as a mark out of 10, resulting from five criteria: the availability of documentation, the possibility of dismantling them, the availability of spare parts, their price, and a final criterion specific to each category of equipment.

Consumption: 2022, year of repairability?

These five criteria contribute equally to the development of the final mark. This methodology is considered “wobbly” by the association UFC-Que Choisir, which regrets that the method of calculation does not take into account the greater or lesser importance of each criterion.

According to scoring grids established by the Ministry of Ecological Transition, manufacturers must therefore assign a score to each device sold. They must also display it both in-store and on e-commerce sites. This index should enable the consumer, when buying, to compare the different items according to their ability to be repaired by the user or by a professional.

Towards a sustainability index

This repairability index is set to evolve to become, by 2024, a more complete durability index, which corresponds to a European project. According to the HOP association, “this new index must be sufficiently ambitious to guarantee consumers information that reflects the real durability of objects”. The ambition is to assess the real capacity of a product to last over time, according to its reliability and its ability to evolve.

In the meantime, the presence of the repairability index on the products can be subject to controls since January 1, 2022, even if several associations deplore the ineffectiveness of the latter.


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