New ‘right to repair’ law could extend your washing machine’s lifespan by 10 years

The new law will be introduced this summer - here's what it means for you
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  • The UK government plans to introduce a new ‘right to repair’ law this summer. This should mean that household items such as washing machines, fridges and televisions will work for longer. 

    Related:How to clean a smelly washing machine – banish mould, bad odours and residues

    It will become a legal requirement for white goods manufacturers to sell spare parts so that more items can be repaired at home.

    What is the ‘right to repair’ law?

    The new rule will help to encourage customers to fix their faulty items themselves, rather than simply buying a replacement. The ‘right to repair’ law is good news for anyone who has experienced the cost and inconvenience of replacing a fridge or washing machine because it’s stopped working. If the rate at which people need to repurchase these goods slows down, it will reduce carbon emissions, as well as saving customers money.

    whirlpool washing machine

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    The new law is expected to extend the lifespan of products by up to 10 years. So although some of the items in our kitchens and living rooms have to be replaced eventually once they’re beyond repair, this can be held off for longer.

    ‘Our plans to tighten product standards will ensure more electrical goods can be fixed rather than thrown on the scrap heap – putting more money back in the pockets of consumers whilst protecting the environment,’ says Kwasi Kwarteng, business and energy secretary.

    where-to-store-meat-in-the-fridge-2

    Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies

    Items that the new ‘right to repair’ law will apply to

    Washing machines

    Fridges

    Dishwashers

    Electronic displays (including televisions)

    Light sources and separate control gears

    External power suppliers

    Electric motors

    Refrigerators with a direct sales function (e.g. fridges in supermarkets, vending machines for cold drinks)

    Power transformers

    Welding equipment

    shopping-in-the-fridge

    Image credit: David Giles

    In the UK, we dispose of 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste every year, so tougher rules against built-in obsolescence will help cut the number of items we end up throwing away.

    Related: IKEA is offering to buy back customers unwanted furniture

    New energy efficiency requirements are also being drawn up for appliances, reducing the cost of household bills by an average of £75 each year. ‘Our upcoming energy efficiency framework will push electrical products to use even less energy and material resources, saving people money on their bills and reducing carbon emissions,’ Kwasi Kwarteng adds.

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