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Encouraging repair, Équiterre report

Equiterre recommends that governments apply eco-fiscal measures to reduce the cost of repairs. For example, he suggests the creation of a fund that would be used to offer a rebate to consumers when they pay for a defect.

Encourager la réparation, rapport Équiterre

Équiterre presented a research report on the brakes and levers for the repair of EAs. The report contains the results of a survey of 2080 people across the country in 2021. It shows that the use of repair has decreased compared to 2018. At that time, the proportion was 22.7 percent, according to the survey.

"Among the disincentives cited by respondents were the perception that appliances are increasingly beyond repair and the difficulty of accessing parts and tools."

These responses are consistent with those of the 40 repairers interviewed in Quebec and British Columbia for the study. They also identified frequent technological changes in equipment and the miniaturization of certain components as obstacles.

Consumers also pointed to the financial aspect: repair is considered more expensive than the price of a new appliance.

Economic benefits of repairing your appliance

In addition to the environmental benefits, extending the life of an ESA can be an economic choice, says Équiterre.

"A U.S. study showed that the use of repair can reduce household spending on electrical and electronic appliances by up to 22%. And in Canada, it represented an average of $972 per year," says Amélie Côté of Équiterre to The Canadian Press.

For a more responsible consumption of appliances

Équiterre also invites them to design durable products. Research indicates that appliances malfunction on average after 2.6 years of use.

Manufacturers should also provide access to parts and instructions for rebuilding an EEA, as well as prioritize repair of a product under warranty over replacement.

But one of the key solutions to ensure that manufacturers follow suit is a legislative framework for the right to repair, as other states have done.

"By implementing, for example, a durability index that gives us information on whether our product is durable or repairable, it will encourage manufacturers to change their ways. This is what has been observed in France," says Ms. Côté.

The federal government could define the right to repair in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act by prohibiting the design and marketing of irreparable products.

Équiterre also hopes that Quebec will re-launch the bill to amend the Consumer Protection Act in order to fight against programmed obsolescence and enforce the right to repair goods.

Amélie Côté is confident that the political will is there. "I think everyone has experiences with appliances that have broken, that they wish they could fix. So in our opinion, it's a transparent issue that should go smoothly in terms of changes."

At the same time, the public also has a role to play. The survey found that 82% of Canadians had purchased a new appliance or electronic device after a breakdown. The production of EEE represents "staggering amounts of resources," says Côté.

Équiterre believes that the public should prefer to buy used AEE and to maintain their appliances properly. He mentions that the cause of the breakage is often a bad or lack of maintenance of the appliance, according to the repairers met during the study.

The high demand for natural resources needed to produce electronics and household appliances could deplete the reserves of certain critical and strategic minerals contained in our EEA by 2050, says Équiterre in its study. We will eventually reach these material shortages [...], so we might as well act now rather than wait until we hit a wall," says Ms. Côté.

Profile of the repair industry

This portrait of repair therefore indicates clear avenues for solutions to extend the life of products and rethink the model of consumption and production for a waste-free Quebec oriented towards the circular economy.

View the reports:

Whether for environmental or economic reasons, we all have something to gain by taking care of and repairing our appliances to extend their life!

As a purchase criterion, repairability is important to nearly three quarters of those surveyed (74.8%), which is higher than in Canada (55.4%)




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