It seems the lawmakers in the European Union have had enough of Big Tech’s shenanigans and greenwashing. Lawmakers in the EU are proposing new laws and legislations that would give smartphones an extended life and not end up in a dumpster or a recycling center in a couple of years.
While environmentalists and regular users see this as a welcome group, a trade association with the backing of Apple, Samsung, and many other smartphone manufacturers opposes this.
The law is intended to reduce electrical waste as part of an environmental protection program. This would be achieved because, under this new legislation, smartphone manufacturers would be required to make at least 15 critical spare parts available for five years from the launch of a phone so that the devices are not junked within a few years after being purchased, just because some part of it malfunctioned.
The proposed legislation also dictates that smartphone batteries must meet certain thresholds of efficiency and endurance. Batteries should survive at least 500 total charges without deteriorating to below 83 percent of their capacity.
Furthermore, smartphone makers also need to display an energy efficiency label on their devices, showing battery endurance and other characteristics such as resistance to drops.
A trade association called Digital Europe is opposing the proposed legislation. Its members include Apple, Google, Huawei, LG, Oppo, Samsung, Xiaomi, and other smartphone makers. According to Digital Europe, far from reducing waste, the requirement to produce spare parts would create it.
They say that the legislation would also make it difficult for smaller companies, who would struggle to meet the costs of the new requirements, which could make smartphones less affordable. It could also make it less economical to produce ultra-low-cost models.
Apple is involved in a major brawl with Right To Repair activists in the US, demanding that tech companies let users service their own devices and repair them. The right-to-repair activists also demand that repairing schematics and spare parts are made readily available to independent repair businesses and individuals who wish to improve their devices. Apple has made some ridiculous claims opposing the Right To Repair.
Although Apple has tried to appease them by introducing a Self Service Repair program that makes spare parts available, loans tools, and provides repair guides, Apple maintains that the safest and most reliable repair is achieved through an Apple Store or one of the thousands of Apple Authorized Service Providers and Independent Repair Providers.
But more often than not, independent repair providers have complained that they are often treated very differently from authorized service providers and that they have to sign some insane NDAs and other contracts. Independent repair providers have also claimed that they are often not even allowed to order some of the parts they would need to carry out repair work.
As for Apple Stores and authorized service providers, more often than not, they charge an exorbitant fee and markup on parts that make repairing the device uneconomical. Also, more often than not, right-to-repair activists have observed that Apple Store employees and those at Apple’s authorized service providers push customers to get a new device altogether instead of repairing their damaged products.