White goods law: Fridges and washing machines as well as TVs impacted by new legislation

White goods law: Fridges and washing machines as well as TVs impacted by new legislation

02/02/2021

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White goods will be guaranteed to last longer for Britons under new Government plans that make appliance parts available for at least seven years. The news comes after there were huge concerns over the environmental impact of throwing away broken appliances.

The proposals by ministers are designed to tackle the lifespan of a product, causing them to be replaced more regularly. 

The laws being brought in require spare parts to be available for a minimum of seven years, to allow white goods and electrical items to last longer.

Labels on products could also be made a requirement so that consumers know their expected lifespan.

The Government is said to launch a framework in the coming months for energy products. 

They are thought to go further than the current EU rules. 

An average washing machine typically lasts up to ten years, which is quite a long time for an electrical appliance.

Meanwhile, a television is said to have an average lifespan of about five to seven years, equating to around 40,000-60,000 hours.

However, when an appliance or electrical item breaks, manufacturers don’t keep spare parts for that long due to new technology coming out all the time.

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This means that although the appliance is probably repairable, consumers are left with no alternatives other than to replace the item because repair parts are not available.

Washing machines that are on the market now are typically difficult to fix and can be extremely expensive.

The idea behind the new plans is that consumers will be encouraged to save money and fix their appliances rather than replace them.

Landfill is a growing problem for the world with high levels of methane gas and CO2 generated by the rotting rubbish, contributing to climate change.

In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, SNP MP Angela Crawley said: “Planned obsolescence is a cynical marketing strategy and has a damaging impact on the environment as well as consumers.”

Under the plans drawn up by the Department or Business and Energy, new models will also have to be built with parts that “can be replaced with the use of commonly available tools, tackling premature obsolescence”.

This is so that anyone who has a problem with a white good item can replace the broken part by themselves. 

Planned obsolescence refers to a product being intentionally designed to have a short life-span or fall out of fashion with consumers. 

Business Minister Paul Scully said that these measures “aim to improve the resource efficiency of energy related products”.

He added that he aims to bring in the measures after publishing the results of two public consultations later this year.

James Daley, managing director of consumer group Fairer Finance told the paper that the plans were sensible.

“It’s good that the onus is on companies to produce goods that are better quality and can be easily fixed,” he added.

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