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On the morning of May 26, Right to Repair Europe has piled up end-of-life printers in front of the European Commission building in Brussels. With this action, Right to Repair Europe and partners want to draw the Commission’s attention to inadequate regulation regarding the reduction of waste from printers.

Particularly wasteful products

In September 2020, the Commission identified printers as a particularly wasteful product, in addition to mobile phones, laptops and tablets. The Commission then committed to tackle printers by means of a dedicated regulatory instrument “unless the sector reaches an ambitious voluntary agreement” aiming to reduce the environmental footprint of printers. Nearly one year later, the discussions on this voluntary agreement have not yielded any tangible results.

Printers are one of the most iconic examples of premature obsolescence and some of the least repairable products brought to community repair events. According to data from the Open Repair Alliance, only 37% of printers get repaired at events, while 33% are deemed end of life.

100,000 tonnes of e-waste each year by cartridges

Meanwhile, printer cartridges are a major source of uncontrolled proliferation of electronic waste in the EU. 100,000 tonnes of e-waste are created each year in the EU due to limited reuse and remanufacturing of cartridges, suggests analysis of the data from a report for the European Commission in 2019.

Right to Repair Europe and partners are calling on the Commission to reject the inadequate voluntary agreement by printer manufacturers and to start working immediately on mandatory requirements addressing both the durability and repairability of printers as well as the reusability of cartridges.

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