It seems the lawmakers in the European Union have had enough of Big Tech’s shenanigans and greenwashing. Lawmakers in EU are proposing a new set of laws and legislations that would make smartphones have an extended life and not end up in a dumpster or a recycling centre in a couple of years.

While environmentalists and regular users are seeing this as a welcome group, a trade association that has the backing of Apple, Samsung and a bunch of other smartphone manufacturers are opposing 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 key 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 need to meet certain thresholds of efficiency and endurance. Batteries should survive at least 500 full charges without deteriorating to below 83 per cent of their capacity.

Furthermore, smartphone makers also need to display an energy efficiency label on their devices which will show 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 the spare parts would actually 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 economic to produce ultra-low-cost models.

Apple is involved in a major tussle with Right To Repair activists in the US, who are 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 should be made easily available to independent repair businesses and individuals who wish to repair their own devices. Apple has made some ridiculous claims opposing the Right To Repair.

Although Apple has tried to pacify them by introducing a Self Service Repair program which 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 authorised service providers and that they have to sign some insane NDAs and other contracts. Independent repair providers have also claimed that often, they are not even allowed to order some of the parts that they would need to carry out repair work.

As for Apple Stores and authorised 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 authorised service providers push customers to get a new device altogether, instead of getting their damaged products repaired.





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