New rules to make it easier for consumers to have electronic or electrical goods repaired rather than replaced and binned were passed by the European Parliament today.

The draft legislation seeks to introduce a 'right to repair' and will place new obligations on producers and sellers to reduce unnecessary waste.

The law would require sellers to repair products unless it is cheaper to replace them.

It would also provide rights to make repairs easier and cheaper when guarantees expire.

The initiative is all part of helping the EU achieve its Green Deal policy agenda and hopes to promote longer product life through reusability and reparability.

More than 590 MEPs supported the measure, including all 13 MEPs from Ireland, with just 15 voting against.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Green Party MEP Ciarán Cuffe said it is "a real step forward in the circular economy", and it will cover white goods as well as mobile phones and is "a win for consumers".

While welcoming the draft legislation, Mr Cuffe said it is disappointing that it did not go further to include such items as cars and rechargeable batteries.

Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune, a member of the parliament's Internal Market Committee described the measure as an "important step to empower consumers", adding that "in the long-run, this new legislation will bring about significant savings for consumers, allowing them to contribute to the circular economy".

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Electronics are the fastest growing source of waste in the EU. In 2017, more than 3.5 million tonnes were collected and only 40% recycled.

Cork City Council's civic amenity site, the biggest in Munster, saw an average of 420 tonnes of electric and electronic waste binned by the public over the past two years.

Repair businesses such as Washing Machine Repairs in Cork, which is in business for over 40 years, welcomed news of the draft law.

Paul O'Shea said it made sense and will be good for the planet too.

"I think it is definitely a move in the right direction," he said.

"Anything that saves stuff going into the sea and going into landfill, I mean, the stuff going into the landfill is ridiculous, especially the plastic".

Mr O'Shea pointed to a 25-year-old electric cooker that he is currently in the middle of repairing.

"This new EU law is a very good law for stopping this cooker from being dumped," he said.

"And if we could stop this, and give it another ten years of life, thumbs-up. That's the way to go for the future."

The law is expected to come into force in early 2025 once a final agreement is worked out between member states.

Additional reporting Tommy Meskill