Convenient, but not good for the environment: buy new devices as soon as the old ones give up the ghost. It's more sustainable - and often cheaper.
The hair dryer runs hot, the vacuum cleaner leaves the crumbs lying around, the television no longer shows a picture: everything is annoying. But that's not always a good reason to immediately dispose of the defective electrical or electronic device and buy a new one. A repair may also be possible. And it's always worth it from an environmental point of view - instead of buying a new one. The Federal Environment Agency points this out.
Because the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment not only consumes energy, but also natural resources - which cannot be fully recovered even if they are disposed of properly.
The good news: If you want to have your defective device repaired, you don't always have to expect high costs. Minor minor repairs can be carried out yourself with the help of the operating instructions. According to the Federal Environment Agency, anyone who is inexperienced can also look around on online portals such as Kaputt.de or iFixit. There are free instructions and repair videos here.
For major repairs, the Environment Agency advises getting multiple estimates and considering independent repairers. These are sometimes cheaper than the factory customer services of the manufacturer - but are also liable for a defect-free repair according to the law on contracts for work and services.
Incidentally, this does not apply to repair cafés run by volunteers. However, the repair initiatives, in which professionals work together, can be a cost-effective alternative to professional repairs for minor repairs.
But be careful: As long as warranty or guarantee claims exist, it is better not to repair the device yourself. Otherwise the corresponding claims may be lost. Better: Clarify with the manufacturer or retailer whether it is a warranty case before picking up the screwdriver. The following generally applies: The warranty period for newly purchased goods is two years. There are no uniform specifications for the guarantee. It is a voluntary service, for example by the manufacturer.
Incidentally, warranty rights can also be used in a particularly environmentally friendly way. Because here you can choose whether the product should be repaired or replaced with a new one. Of course, here too, repairs are the more environmentally friendly alternative. In both cases, the seller bears the costs of transport, labor and materials used.
If a repair is not possible and a new device is not delivered, consumers can either withdraw from the sales contract or choose a reduction in the purchase price. According to the Federal Environment Agency, if you can come to terms with a minor defect, it makes ecological sense to keep the product and reduce the price.
Incidentally, even when buying, you should make sure that electrical and electronic devices can be easily repaired in case of doubt. The Federal Environment Agency advises asking the dealer or manufacturer before buying how long spare parts will be available, what repair and maintenance options are available and which repairs can be carried out yourself.
Also: Ask yourself whether the new purchase is really necessary. Many electrical and electronic devices, such as drills, are rarely used in the home. An environmentally friendly alternative to buying can then be rental equipment, for example from the hardware store or from neighborhood initiatives.
(This article was first published on Monday, June 20, 2022.)