EU Proposes New Rules to Make Phones and Tablets Last Longer


The European Union has proposed rules to make phones and tablets last longer by mandating manufacturers make at least 15 components available for five years or more after they release a device.

The legislative arm of the EU, the European Commission (EC), also wants to improve battery durability saying that the power component should be able to endure at least 500 full charges before dropping below 83 percent of their capacity.

According to Engadget, consumers would be able to replace components such as batteries, displays, chargers, back covers, and SIM and memory card trays.

The Financial Times says that the idea behind it is to reduce e-waste and the environmental impact of phones and tablets that pollute parts of the world, particularly Africa.

According to a study, increasing smartphone life cycles by five years would equate to taking around five million cars off of roads in terms of emissions.

If the EU’s proposal went through then it is anticipated that more recyclable phones and tablets would save emissions equivalent to around 10mn tonnes of Co2. As it would reduce energy consumption costs associated with their manufacture by a third.

“Devices are often replaced prematurely by users and are, at the end of their useful life, not sufficiently reused or recycled, leading to a waste of resources,” the proposals say.

Smartphone makers have hit back against some elements of the rules by claiming that greater availability of parts will increase plastic consumption.

“A potential overproduction, subsequent warehousing and destruction of spare parts will naturally result in wasted resources, reduced material efficiency and negative economic value ultimately resulting in higher costs for the consumer,” Digital Europe, an organization that represents tech companies and trade groups, said.

Nevertheless, some phone manufacturers are attempting to get ahead of such regulations by offering consumers components and tools to self-repair their devices. Apple, Google and Samsung have all started selling parts for phones and other products.

Back in June, the EC announced a directive for USB-C to become the charging standard for most electronic devices, including all phones, by fall 2024. Some tech companies had long opposed such a move, particularly Apple, which uses the proprietary Lightning charger for many of its portable devices.

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