From this summer, consumers will have a 'Right to Repair' their household appliances as the government looks to cut down on the estimated 1.5 million tonnes of electronic waste generated by the UK each year.
The sale of white goods and domestic appliances has skyrocketed over the past year due in no small part to the on-going pandemic and the fact that people have been spending more on improving their homes.
Yet, if many of these goods are likely to breakdown in a matter of a few years, and manufacturers don’t offer replacement parts or servicing, the amount of e-waste that is likely to be generated is likely to soar – hence why this law is looking to extend the lifespan of household appliances by up to 10 years, addressing the current 'built-to-break' philosophy.
Research from Lupe Technology, a UK start-up, has revealed the extent to which the built-to-break trend is responsible for Britain’s plastic and electrical waste.
According to Lupe's study, 13% (almost 6 million people) agree that the majority of their plastic domestic appliances have broken within the first two years, whilst over 18% (8,107,000) are storing many domestic appliances at home that have broken which can’t be recycled or disposed of easily.
The ‘Right to Repair’ law does appear to chime with changing consumer attitudes and the growing demand for more sustainable technology.
According to Lupe, 45% (over 21 million) would happily pay an extra 25% more for a domestic appliance that is greener and more energy efficient and lasts longer, whilst a staggering 81% (almost 40 million) agree that when purchasing their next appliance, they will ensure that it is more energy efficient than their current model.
Lupe Technology is among a number of consumer companies that are looking to create premium products – in their case a vacuum-cleaner - that will have a much extend life.
Lupe's Pure Cordlesss vacuum has been crafted from recyclable plastic and delivers high performance and has been designed to outlive the traditional shelf-life of typical household appliances by a considerable margin. Not only that, but should a part break, it will be fully replaceable.
The company’s efforts, alongside those of many others, to combine performance and longevity in a bid to combat excess household wastage should be welcomed, because despite all our good intentions we, as consumers, still seem addicted to gadgets and appliances that tend to break too soon, which in turn contributes to the creation of a mountain of plastic pollution and electrical wastage.