Smartphones and tablets will follow environmentally ambitious EU ecodesign requirements by June 2025
2 min read

Smartphones and tablets will follow environmentally ambitious EU ecodesign requirements by June 2025

The first EU Ecodesign and Energy Labelling rules for mobile phones and tablets will make electronic products longer-lasting and more repairable. This landmark decision heralds a new era of sustainability for electronic products.

New EU regulations will decrease the environmental impact of smartphones and tablets and empower independent repairers and consumers, who will be able to access spare parts and information to repair smartphones and tablets for at least seven years after the product stops being distributed. Manufacturers will also have to make compatible software updates available for at least five years, ensuring the safety of our devices for a longer period.

Smartphones will also be more durable. Under the new rules, they must be able to endure at least 45 accidental drops without functional impairment, as well as maintain at least 80% of their battery capacity after undergoing 800 charging cycles (which would take around four years on average). Tablets will follow the same rules, but only concerning their battery capacity.

In a first at EU level, consumers will also benefit from better access to information about the overall repairability of smartphones thanks to a repair index that will be displayed on their energy labels. Electronic displays and washing machines are being considered by the European Commission for similar rules.

Mathieu Rama, Programme Manager at ECOS – Environmental Coalition on Standards, said:

New ecodesign rules for mobile phones and tablets are a major step forward. The EU is leading the way towards sustainable tech.

We are also looking forward to the improvement of repairability, reliability, and requirements for other electronic products such as laptops and printers  – developments that are already in the pipeline.

While all this is good news, we also call for a horizontal approach to the circularity of electronics as many repairability and durability requirements could be applied to several product types in one go instead of product by product.

Towards a universal right to repair – but we aren’t there yet

Unfortunately, several repairability issues have been left insufficiently tackled:

  • The price of spare parts is not addressed
  • Part pairing (the process by which manufacturers control who can and cannot perform certain types of repairs), even though partially tackled, is not banned
  • Manufacturers will still have the option to not provide spare batteries to consumers, under the condition that they respect certain longevity and waterproofness requirements
  • The number of spare parts available to consumers is much lower than those available to professional repairers

What comes next?

These regulations are a victory for the environment and all repair professionals and enthusiasts – but more must be done. ECOS will continue to pursue a universal right to repair for all electronic products.

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