Barriers, enablers and market governance: A review of the policy landscape for repair of consumer electronics in the EU and the U.S.

Abstract

Many strategies have been proposed to support the transition to a Circular Economy (CE). In most cases, circular design and product life-extension practices specify repair as an essential element. In both the EU and the U.S., policymakers are attempting to increase the amount of repairs made, through the introduction of recent EU Ecodesign regulation changes and proposed US Right to Repair legislation. This review explores the current policy landscape for repair services by first outlining legal and market barriers to stakeholder participation in repair activities, and which stakeholders are affected. The review reveals a wide range of fundamental obstacles to both supply and demand of repair, including Intellectual Property, Consumer, Contract, Tax and Chemical laws, along with issues of design, consumer perceptions and markets. Subsequently, the current and proposed policy solutions to address barriers and increase repair activities are reviewed. A comparative assessment of the EU and the U.S. is followed by a discussion on the current repair market governance structure, which is found to be primarily centralized (i.e. repair services concentrated with manufacturers), with possible implications for upscaling repair. New policy proposals challenge this governance. Introducing the concept of a Repair Society Framework as a market transformation tool, we comprehensively discuss the current state of repair and provide an outlook for research and policy in this area. (C) 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Description
Keywords
Repair, Electrical and electronic equipment, Circular economy, Market governance, Ecodesign, Repair society
Citation