Planned obsolescence of planned obsolescence

| 10th March 2021 |
Fridges will now be subject to new ecodesign laws

Discarded fridges piling up

New legislation aims to tackle 'premature obsolescence' in electrical goods and make them more energy efficient.

Simplifying the way energy efficiency is displayed on labels will help consumers to make more informed choices.

Tougher rules are being introduced to make appliances such as fridges, washing machines and TVs cheaper to run and last longer, the UK Government said.

New legislation aims to tackle “premature obsolescence” in electrical goods – short lifespans built into appliances by manufacturers so that customers have to buy new ones sooner – and make them more energy efficient.

The rules include a legal requirement on manufacturers to make spare parts available to consumers, which aims to extend the lifespan of products by up to 10 years, and cut carbon emissions from the manufacture of new goods.


The measures, which apply to white goods such as washing machines, dishwashers and fridges, as well as items such as TVs, aim to reduce the 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste the UK generates a year.

Higher energy efficiency standards are also being set for electrical goods, which officials said would save consumers an average of £75 a year on bills overall and cut carbon emissions by using less electricity over their lifetimes.

Kwasi Kwarteng, the business and energy secretary, said: “Our plans to tighten product standards will ensure more of our electrical goods can be fixed rather than thrown on the scrap heap, putting more money back in the pockets of consumers whilst protecting the environment.

“Going forward, 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.”

New energy labels have also been introduced this week, to simplify the ratings which had got to the point where most products were classed as A+, A++ or A+++ because of improvements in energy efficiency since the standards were first introduced.


The simplified system is based on an A-G scale, with the bar raised for each grade so that very few appliances will now be classed in the top A standard.

Emilie Carmichael, head of international collaboration at Energy Saving Trust, said: “Simplifying the way energy efficiency is displayed on labels will help consumers to make more informed choices to reduce their energy consumption and bills.”

The new regulations, which the Business Department aims to bring into force in the summer, reflect what was agreed by the UK as an EU member state two years ago.

They will apply in Great Britain, while EU rules will continue to apply in Northern Ireland.

A call for evidence, which explored the scope for introducing more ambitious climate-friendly policy for electrical appliances after Brexit, will also feed into a forthcoming policy framework, officials said.

This Author

Emily Beament is the PA environment correspondent.

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