From 2021, manufacturing firms will have to make appliances longer-lasting, and they will have to supply spare parts for machines for up to 10 years.
The rules apply to light, washing machines, dishwashers, and fridges.
The legislation has been prompted by complaints from consumers across Europe and North America infuriated by machines that break down when they are just out of warranty.
Owners are usually unable to repair the machines themselves – or find anyone else to do it at a decent price – so they are forced to buy a replacement. This creates waste and fuels global warming through the greenhouse gases created in the manufacturing process for new machines.
In the US, around 20 states are said to have the right to repair legislation in progress. Under the European Commission’s new standards, manufacturers will have to make spares, such as door gaskets and thermostats, available to professional repairers.
Instead, manufacturers will have to ensure that key parts of the product can be replaced by independent professionals.
If British firms want to sell into Europe after Brexit they will have to follow the new rules, which apply from April 2021.