Right to Repair Laws – How Our “Disposable” Culture Affects The Environment

In recent years, companies such as Amazon and eBay have taken over the ecommerce world. Offering products at a fraction of the cost, along with same or next day delivery, it is no surprise that we turn to our smartphones rather than the high street for retail therapy.

Along with the convenience comes a lower price point. When one needs to buy a new phone charger, or kitchen appliance, we often gravitate towards the cheapest option, rather than the highest quality or durable option. One of the main reasons is availability.

It is very easy for us to source cheaper versions of the products we know and love, all thanks to the internet.

However, although they cost less to buy, cheaper products often come with a shorter lifespan. This may cause them to end up in landfill at the end of their life.

As they are cheap, consumers are inclined to simply replace a failed product, rather than attempting to repair it, increasing the level of waste produced by each household.

But how is this “new” disposable culture affecting our planet?

Government statistics tell us that the UK generated 222.2 million tonnes of total waste in 2018, and in 2019, the UK recycling rate for Waste from Households was only 46.2%. When waste is sent to landfill, it is left to rot and decompose. As it does so, harmful gases such as carbon dioxide and methane are released, contributing to the current climate crisis we are facing as both a nation and a planet.

In 2021, the UK Government introduced “Right to Repair” laws. These new laws “mandate manufacturers to make spare parts for electrical appliances available within two years of all model launches, and then for between seven and 10 years after the model is discontinued”.

The UK generated 222.2 million tonnes of total waste in 2018.

Now that spare parts are becoming available, there is nothing to prevent consumers from purchasing a higher quality product, knowing that if anything does go wrong, they have the ability to repair the appliance instead of simply buying a new one.

Would you buy a new car any time you need a new tire? No, so why do the same with household appliances?

This will allow consumers to invest in higher quality appliances, as they know they have the ability to repair not replace in the rare event that something does go wrong.

More disposable, lower cost goods sold around the world will only increase the amount of waste in landfill sites, further adding to our climate crisis.

Here at Fischer, we support the Right to Repair laws. We have been strong believers of quality for over 10 years in the UK, and over 70 years in Europe, offering customer’s high quality heating solutions for their homes.

Now, with the introduction of the new rules, we believe that consumers will shift their focus from disposable, non-repairable, cheaper products to higher quality alternatives.

Our dynamic clay core heaters come with a 10-year warranty, however this is not indicative of their lifespan. In fact, we do not provide a lifespan on our products, as there is nothing to say they will not last much longer than the 10-year warranty period.

Furthermore, if something does happen to go wrong with our products (a rare occurrence); you have the ability to simply replace a part, rather than the whole unit. Put simply, you are able to repair not replace.

The situation is the same with our electric boilers. Every part within the unit is replaceable, allowing for a repair, not a replacement. You will not find yourself having to replace the boiler if something does happen to go wrong. Our products are made to last.

Many other heating alternatives are not repairable, usually because they are sealed units. Parts may not be accessible, or simply not available to repair the unit. You would instead need to replace the whole unit.

What happens to the old, faulty unit? It may make its way to landfill.

In the business world, the term “TCO” is commonly used. TCO refers to the “Total Cost of Ownership.” TCO is “a measure of how much a specific asset will cost a business over the longer term.”

The same calculation can be applied to your home. Buying the same appliance three times over a 10-year span is less cost effective than purchasing a slightly higher quality version of the product once.

The higher quality item may cost slightly more at the initial point of purchase, but over time will begin to pay for itself.

As a nation, and as a planet, we must act now to reduce global warming and work towards a cleaner future. There are many ways to do this, such as switching to a renewable energy supplier or eating less meat, but reducing waste is another relatively simple way to reduce your carbon footprint.

Find out more about our high quality, long lasting heating appliances and request your free brochure.