New energy efficiency law ‘could extend product life by a decade’
10 Mar 2021
Tough new energy efficiency legislation to save on millions of tonnes of electrical waste were announced by the Government today (Wednesday 10 March).
The planned law will crack down on so-called ‘premature obsolescence’ – short lifespans deliberately built into appliances that then require costly replacement.
Business and Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng said that from summer manufacturers will be legally obliged to make spare parts for products available to consumers for the first time, providing a new legal right for repairs
The reform is predicted to extend product lifespan by up to a decade – reducing carbon emissions and reducing the country’s annual output of 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste.
It is estimated this will cut 8 mega tonnes of carbon emissions this year alone, by reducing the amount of energy products consume over their life-time.
This would be equivalent to removing all yearly emissions from Birmingham and Leeds, its is claimed.
The changes will also increase energy-efficiency standards for electrical products with the promise this will save consumers an average of £75 a year on energy bills.
Added the minister: “Our upcoming energy efficiency framework will push electrical products to use even less energy and material resources, saving people money on their bills and reducing carbon emissions as we work to reach net zero by 2050.
Responses from the manufacturing sector are forthcoming but an early welcome came from Cranfield University director of manufacturing Professor Mark Jolly .
He stated: “This law is a welcome step in creating a circular and more sustainable economy. Far too many products, particularly electrical ones, are simply discarded at what is assumed to be the end of their use life.
“Our own research into remanufactured laptops shows just how effective repairs can be with remanufactured models retaining around 95% of their original processing power.”
Country sales manager GB&I from the Professional division of manufacturer Miele also expressed support for the decision.
“We welcome the government’s position on ‘planned obsolescence’ showing a clear understanding of the need for the sustainable consumption of products. It is vital that manufacturers are producing products that are built to last, to allow us to work towards a more sustainable future, ” he stated.
Meanwhile, since 1 March, new energy labels have been introduced to simplify the way energy efficiency is displayed, with a new A-G scale. Today, the vast majority of appliances are classified as A+, A++ or A+++.
The new labels will improve the old system by raising the bar for each class, meaning few appliances will now be classified as A.
Photo: While companies such as Sulzer (pictured) invest heavily in parts repair services, Government is seeking to limit others who produce goods that require wholesale replacement owing to built-in short lifespans