Environment Minister unveils plan to 'combat short life span of electrical goods'

Environment Minister unveils plan to 'combat short life span of electrical goods'
Federal Minister for Climate, Environment and Sustainable Development Zakia Khattabi. Credit: Belga.

Belgium's Federal Environment Minister Zakia Khattabi (Ecolo) intends to reduce the short life span of certain electrical goods by requiring all sellers to display a sustainability score on their products by 2023 onwards.

In an interview with Belgian TV channel LN24 on Tuesday morning, Greens politician Khattabi revealed her plan to reduce the 120,000 tonnes of waste generated by electrical appliances in Belgium each year.

Her plan is to force sellers into communicating in advance to consumers how easy it would be to repair these products, through the implementation of a so-called 'reparability index,' on washing machines, dishwashers, hoovers, pressure washers, lawnmowers, televisions, digital tablets, mechanical bikes and electric bikes.

This index will be based on 120 separate elements, the most essential of which will be the technical components of the appliance, as well as the availability and pricing of spare parts.

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A separate bill will be created for smartphones and computers, which will offer every potential customer with information about the duration and compatibility of the product's software.

According to Khattabi, the fight against programmed obsolescence is all the more important given the current scarcity of raw materials are scarce, all while our production and consumption methods generate CO2 emissions.

Her expectation is that the text will be enacted by the end of the year, and has attempted to reassure producers by stating that a similar index has already been implemented by our French neighbours, to whom many of the manufacturers currently export their products.

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