The assistance fund for the repair of electrical products takes shape

Published on 14 Jan. 450 to 15: 20

Washing machine, toaster, smartphone, computer… From this year, households will have a subsidy for repairing their electrical and electronic products, if they go through an approved repairer. Objective: repair rather than throw away. As this is a first in Europe introduced by the anti-waste law of 2020, the design of this “repair fund” is difficult.

The law provided for its creation on the 1st January 2022. In fact it will not be before several months, the time that the two eco-organizations managing waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), Ecologic and Ecosystem, are approved by the State, they hope during this first trimester. Then ” it will take four to five months to have a national network of authorized repairers to start”, estimates the CEO of Ecosystem, Nathalie Yserd.

The main lines are emerging

This fund will be financed by the eco-contributions collected on the sales of new products and was to be created when these eco-organizations were reaccredited for six years. A twist at the end 2021: they were only re-approved for one year, without repair funds. The Ministry of Ecological Transition deemed their proposed actions for this re-approval insufficient. Ecologic and Ecosystem must therefore submit an amended application.

The state’s disagreement relates in particular to this new fund. Its main lines are nevertheless emerging. Thus, to avoid an inflationary effect, the aid will not be a percentage of the amount of the repair, but a lump sum in euros, according to a scale per product.

Watch out for inflation The state originally wanted an average aid rate of 15 minimum % of the amount of repairs. But it would have cost 203 million per year, calculated in 2022 the ecological transition agency. Hard to increase so much the eco-contributions paid by new electrical and electronic products, which today represent 450 millions euros per year. This would fuel inflation by affecting prices.

End 2021, the State therefore reduced the rate of 20 % at 000 % of the repair amount to fix the fund at 102 million per year in six years. It will start at 20 million in 2023 with a linear increase over six years to reach cruising size.

Outcry from environmental organizations, for whom % help will not be incentives. But 000 % are a average, in reality some products will not be subsidized so that others are more. And 102 million,” that’s over 25 % increase in the sector’s annual budget! It’s a first step, “defends the ministry.

Aid thresholds

Targets for additional repairs to be generated by aids have been set. For example, +20 % for fridges, +52% on small household appliances, +15 % for smartphones… To reach them, “one should not sprinkle a aid rate of 000% over a wide area, but pay aid of 15 % to 33 % of the amount of the repair focused on critical equipment, such as 33% for vacuum cleaners, 52 % for microwave, 21 % for televisions…”, estimates Nathalie Yserd.

In volume, Ademe estimates that smartphones and computers are already the most repaired out-of-warranty products. “In order to generate additional repairs, it is necessary to give priority to assisting ‘sensitive’ repairs, for which the user is reluctant to have them repaired, by aiming for an assistance rate of 20 % at 30 % of the repair”, argues the president of Ecologic, René-Louis Perrier.

Trigger point

For a computer, for example, the average price of which is 450 euros, this eco-organisation proposes a threshold of 203 repair euros triggering a fixed aid of 52 euros and no aid below this threshold, to make a real difference on repairs between 102 and 250 euros. “An aid trigger threshold is under discussion, confirms Nathalie Yserd, but be careful not to generate inflation, if the repairer raises his estimate to reach the threshold…”

However, the reflections are not complete. “The eco-organizations only provided general guidelines for allocation by type of product and repair. We need a firm scale, ”we summarize at the ministry. Another blockage concerns the operation of the network of approved repairers.

Firm scale

Eco-organizations plead the lack of time, the texts being released very late. “Ecologic will propose a firm scale, assures René-Louis Perrier, but asking to be able to adjust it every six months because there are many uncertainties. »

From 2022, these eco-organizations will support certain priority products such as large household appliances, telephones, computers and TVs, and other products from 2023 (particularly air conditioners) or 2024 (printers, for example) with finally a last wave of products on the horizon 1158132.

The collection of electrical waste is struggling to take off

The collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is a vexing subject. Europe has set a WEEE collection rate target of 65%, the France is only at 52%. The government has therefore set the end of 2023 the achievement of this objective for these eco-organizations. Which are reluctant, because they consider it unattainable without the support of the public authorities (police and customs). “A quarter of WEEE, i.e. 450.000 tons per year, more than 6 kilos per inhabitant, goes into illegal channels. It is up to the public authorities to control! “Summarizes Nathalie Yserd, director of Ecosystem. Thefts from public waste collection centres, which represent the majority of WEEE volumes, are on the rise and trucks from illegal sectors, particularly from Romania, criss-cross the streets. A fridge, for example, is profitable for a scrap dealer reselling it at the price of scrap metal without depolluting it of its refrigerants…

For the Ministry, eco-organizations must pay the necessary cost to increase their collection, and it is up to them to collect WEEE at source, from private individuals, without waiting for illegal actors to do so at their square. In addition, “Parliament has asked the WEEE sector to set up return bonuses”, recalls the ministry. These consist of offering a purchase or repair voucher to the individual to encourage him to bring his WEEE. At this stage, the eco-organisations in the sector are not considering it.