The Facts around Tumble Dryer Fires

Hotpoint Indesit facia panelsWhirlpool brandsThe Whirlpool, Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda tumble dryer fire story has been a hot topic for many consumer organisations who are pushing for a recall of the affected dryers, rather than the modification that Whirlpool took on when they purchased the brands back in 2014. The affected models potentially numbered into the millions as the safety notice applied to tumble dryers produced between April 2004 – September 2015.

This presented a number of issues:

  1. How to locate all these tumble dryers and are they still in use or have they been scraped.
  2. How to modify them with the current service force.
  3. How to maintain stock levels to facilitate the modifications.

An extensive advertising campaign was launched on tv and in newspapers. Customers that had registered their appliance were contacted first but of course if they have moved that information would be out of date. As owners of the affected models came forward in time they were contacted. There are still many affected models out there that haven’t been reported and the advice of whirlpool not to use them is being ignored.

Whirlpool established a two prong approach to the engineer issue. Quite clearly there would not be sufficient spare capacity with their existing workforce as they would still need to maintain the current service requirements of the business. They began a recruitment and training program for new engineers and also sub contracted to independent engineers around the country.

Whirlpool dryer modification pop rivit

The modification involved removing and replacing the back panel, rear seal and bearing, installing a pop rivet into the rear of the drum and while the drum is removed giving the whole appliance a good clean, removing any build up of lint that may have bypassed the seals. The whole process should take around 45 minutes.

The purpose of the pop rivet is to scrape the rear seal and help prevent any build up of lint as can be seen in the image.  In our opinion due to how little the rivet touches the rear seal lint will still build up.

Whirlpool dryer lint build up on rear seal

This image demonstrates a modified dryer that is still starting to collect lint on the rear seal.

We feel that the modification has not resolved the issue of customer education in the correct use of there dryers.

Also included in this safety notice are some Proline and Swan brands.

Currently Logik, Siemens and Beko also have safety notices in place for some of their models.

Tumble dryers have always been a cause of fires due to a build up of lint igniting on a heater element. We at The Institute for White Goods Engineers feel that;

a. More emphasis needs to be placed on training customers and instalation personnel in the correct use and installation procedures.

b. Also manufactures need to add sensing to check air flow and prompt filter cleaning.

Lint build up occurs mainly when the air flow from the fan, through the clothes, lint filter, condensing chamber (for condensing dryers), vent hose and wall vent are restricted in any way. If there is a restriction pressure builds up in the drum forcing air and lint past the seals.

It is vitally important that:

  1. The lint collector is emptied after every use.
  2. If the dryer is a condensing type, the condensing chamber is removed at least once a month and cleaned.
  3. If it has a vent hose, check that this hasn’t been crushed usually by pushing the tumble dryer back onto it.
  4. Checking the wall mounted vent to the exterior of the building hasn’t become restricted by a build up of lint.
  5. Location also plays a big role, if the dryer is in a location where dust, pet hairs, leaves or anything else can be sucked in, these too can build up and become a potential source of ignition.

The best advice we can provide for our members is, Check for obstructions and remove any build of lint when ever your service engineer opens a dryer for service or repair.

Tumble Dryer lint removal following a serviceAdvise your customers on the use and cleaning that is necessary.

Also a possible solution to the crushed vent hose problem could be to place two 100mm blocks of timber on the floor. This isn’t ideal as will often result in the dryer protruding further than liked, but a house fire is less than ideal also.

UPDATES:

4th April 2019

The review, by the Government’s Office for Product Safety and Standards, found that there is a low risk of harm or injury from lint fires in modified machines.

The review explored whether Whirlpool’s technical modification, designed to further reduce the risk of lint fires arising from its tumble dryers, was effective in both design and installation, while also reviewing whether Whirlpool’s consumer outreach programme was adequate.

Read our Press Notice: Review of Whirlpool Tumble Dryer modification finds fire risk is low

12th June 2019

Reports in the media that the Government has ordered a recall of 500,000 tumble dryers under the Whirlpool brand such as Hotpoint, Creda, Proline and Swan.

Currently we can find no supporting evidence that this has taken place and currently as of the above date Whirlpools safety Notice website states the following:-

“Please note that this is not a new campaign and was launched in November 2015. Recent media attention relates to the ongoing campaign. If you have registered for a modification previously then you do not need to register again.

This issue refers only to tumble dryers manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015. Anything manufactured after this date is not affected.

If your tumble dryer has already been modified or you have purchased a replacement machine from ourselves then please be assured that this issue is now resolved for you and no further action is required.”

8th July 2019

A letter from D. Jeffrey Noel, Corporate Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, Whirlpool to Graham Russell, Chief Executive, Office for Product Safety & Standards

9th July 2019

A reply letter from Graham Russell, Chief Executive, Office for Product Safety & Standards to D. Jeffrey Noel, Corporate Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, Whirlpool

Which in parts says: I can confirm that OPSS will accept your proposal on the basis set out in your letter of 8 July. To enable us to monitor the recall you must inform us in a timely manner of relevant information, which we will set out.

We expect this action to provide for an effective recall of the unmodified products, such that it would not be considered necessary to issue a recall notice at this time. The acceptance of your proposal does not preclude OPSS from taking enforcement action in the future should there be any reason to reconsider adequacy and effectiveness of the corrective action, including any lack of sufficient and timely progress towards implementation.

10th July 2019

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial StrategyOffice for Product Safety and Standards, and Kelly Tolhurst MP

Published the following:

Whirlpool UK Appliances Ltd is to issue a product recall of tumble dryers not yet modified from consumers’ homes.

The announcement follows an intervention on 4 June by the government’s Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) which informed Whirlpool of its intent to serve a Recall Notice.

Under the recall, consumers with an unmodified, affected tumble dryer will be entitled to a new replacement machine. This will be delivered and installed, with the old one removed, all at no cost.

Whirlpool has agreed to undertake a number of actions required by OPSS, and which have been reviewed by an Expert Panel, consisting of an independent Queen’s Counsel and 3 Chief Scientific Advisors from the Home Office, Health and Safety Executive and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. These actions are set out in an exchange of letters between OPSS and Whirlpool but include commitments to:

  • deliver a significant new consumer outreach campaign with wide ranging publicity of the product recall aimed at reaching affected consumers and driving up awareness
  • guarantee no charges for delivery, installation or removal of machines
  • improve identification of, and outreach to, vulnerable consumers
  • provide OPSS with timely reporting of progress made in the product recall

Consumer Affairs Minister Kelly Tolhurst said:

The UK has some of the toughest consumer protection laws in the world. Our intervention demonstrates that we will take all the necessary steps to keep consumers safe.

I want to reassure consumers that we are doing everything to ensure consumers with unmodified machines are made aware and have their tumble dryer replaced.

Consumers with an unmodified machine should contact Whirlpool to arrange a free replacement.

The decision follows a review by OPSS, published in April 2019 which instructed Whirlpool to reach affected consumers in more creative ways to minimise the risk of unsafe machines still being in people’s homes. Owners of unmodified, affected tumble dryers should unplug and contact Whirlpool.

Whirlpools product recall/safety notice page remains the same insisting that this relates to the ongoing product recall, and that modified dryers and those that fall out side the date range remain safe to use.

20th July 2019

Jeff Noel, Whirlpool
Jeff Noel, Corporate Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs

Whirlpool issue the following open letter from Jeff Noel, Corporate Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, Whirlpool on there webpage: https://dryerrecall.whirlpool.co.uk/

Dear valued customer,

Safety is our top priority and tackling the issue with our tumble dryers has been one of the biggest challenges we have ever faced. We value our customers more than anything and we recognise that we let many of you down. You deserved better from us and for this we apologise to you all.

We are honoured that our brands have been a part of British homes for more than a century and we are immensely proud to still be manufacturing our appliances in the UK. We recognise the huge responsibility we bear and always strive to do the right thing.

We work continuously to build better, safer products and help to drive change that improves safety across the industry.

When we bought Indesit in 2014, we didn’t just acquire a great British company, we welcomed its 5,000 employees and pensioners, and its millions of loyal customers in the UK into the Whirlpool family. With that comes a duty of care for their safety that is of the utmost importance to us.

The safety of Indesit’s tumble dryers was consistent with other brands’ appliances in the market. They met all UK and European regulations too, but Whirlpool demands higher standards, so, we applied our own safety policies to review Indesit’s products. Our review found a potential safety issue in Indesit’s tumble dryers concerning the build-up of lint. It affects certain models made between 2004 and 2015 that were sold under the Indesit, Hotpoint, Creda, Swan and Proline brands.

Even though evaluations under the EU’s official risk assessment system identified this as a low risk issue – its lowest category – we were not satisfied. Shortly after purchasing Indesit, we raised our concerns with the UK regulator and launched a campaign to fix the problem.

We did that because we believed it was the right thing to do to for people’s safety.

We are the first to admit we got some things wrong and could have done some things better. Due to the scale of the challenge, we left many consumers waiting too long and did not provide the level of service we expect of ourselves. That should never have happened and we apologise.

We did everything we could to put that right, hiring thousands of additional engineers and customer advisors to meet demand.

As a result, we have resolved the issue for 1.7 million people. This represents a success rate of up to five times the UK average for a product recall, but we recognise we have more work to do. There may still be people out there with affected dryers who have not responded. It’s vital that we find and resolve those remaining dryers.

To help us achieve that, we are redoubling the efforts of this campaign by issuing a full recall of all unmodified dryers.

That means anyone with an unmodified dryer is entitled to a free replacement, a free modification, a refund based on the age of their appliance, or the opportunity to upgrade to a superior model for a fraction of the retail price.

We’ve worked with the UK Government to agree on these next steps and together we believe this is the right action to encourage any remaining owners of unmodified dryers to come forward.

For anyone who still has an unmodified dryer, please call us immediately on 0800 151 0905 or visit safety.hotpoint.eu/dryercheck.

We thank the millions of people who have already engaged with us; for your time, for your patience, and for your understanding. Nothing matters more to us than your safety and we are truly sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Yours faithfully,

Jeff Noel, Vice President

An interview with Jeff Noel can be found here

Other related documents from the Office for Product Safety can be found here

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Cooke & Lewis Freestanding Slimline Dishwasher Recall

ELECTRICAL PRODUCT RECALL ALERT

Product details: Cooke & Lewis freestanding slimline dishwasher 

For full details, including affected model numbers and manufacturer’s advice, click here.

Reason for recall: Components may overheat, posing a risk of fire

Models Affected: CLDW451W-C / DI6014  Barcode: 5052931055623 Cooke & Lewis white freestanding slimline dishwashers sold by B&Q

What to do next

If you have an affected product please stop using it immediately and unplug.  Call the helpline below for assistance and next steps:

UK: 0300 303 4482 

Helpline hours: Monday to Friday 8.30am–8pm, Saturday 9am–5pm and Sunday 10am–4pm

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Bush Double Oven safety notice

Bush LSBBDFO Double Built In Oven

Argos have issued a safety notice on the Bush branded double built in ovens Model LSBBDFO, following unclear instalation information on page 15 in the guide that accompanies the oven.

The issue relates to how the oven is wired on installation which could lead to overheating and in extreme circumstances can lead to fire.

Argos advise that the Bush branded oven not be used until checked out by there appointed service agents 0800 Repair on 0345 2577271

The affected Models where sold before 10th May 2019

For more recalls and Safety notices click here

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Bush tumble dryer Safety notice

BushFollowing consultation with Milton Keynes Trading Standards, the Bush brand of Tumble Dryer, sold exclusively by Argos have decided to issue additional safety information on the installation, use and maintenance of these affected models:-

Bush Tumble Dryer
Bush TDV6B Tumble Dryer
  • Bush TDV6B 6KG (1288010)
  • Bush TDV6S 6KG (7642966)
  • Bush TDV6B 6KG (1292051)
  • Bush V7SDB 7KG (5386073)
  • Bush TDV6B 6KG (1737901)
  • Bush V7SDB 7KG (5435010)
  • Bush TDV6W 6KG (4810722)
  • Bush V7SDW 7KG (5480948)
  • Bush TDV6W 6KG (7642382)
  • Bush V7SDS 7KG (5496011)
  • Bush TDV6W 6KG (7642399
  • Bush V7SDW 7KG (5586282)
  • Bush TDV6S 6KG (7642959)
  • Bush V6SDW 6KG (4281571)
  • Bush V6SDB 6KG (4287104)
  • Bush V6SDW 6KG (4278041)
  • Bush V6SDS 6KG (4278216)

The main points to remember are as follows: Any restriction in air flow will lead to a potential build up of lint, which in-turn can lead to the lint coming loose and igniting on the heating element.

To prevent this ensure that:

  1. The lint filter found inside the door area must be emptied EVERY TIME the Tumble Dryer is used.
  2. If it is a vented Tumble Dryer that a minimum distance from the wall and the back of the tumble dryer of 10cm (100mm) is left to prevent the vent hose from being crushed.
  3. Also and interestingly not mentioned in the safety notice, If the vent hose is connected to the wall that this vent to the out side is checked and cleaned out at least twice a year.
  4. Do not over load the Tumble Dryer and check fabrics are suitable for the temperature the dryer
  5. Its location, Any tumble dryer should only be installed in a damp free and clean environment. Every dryer sucks in air from its surrounding environment. If there is leaf, pet hair or dust, this will be sucked in and over the heating element, which has the potential to ignite.

Argos can be contacted on 0345 257 7271 or on there web site at www.argos.co.uk/events/safety-products-recalls

The advice from Argos is relevant for any make and model of Tumble Dryer and by following these simple steps the majority of dryer related fires could be eliminated. Facts about Tumble Dryer Fires

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Work Providers

Image result for appliance insurance companies

As an independent engineer, receiving work for Work Providers and other sources can be important, as putting all or eggs in one basket can end in disaster.

Traditionally independent engineers will source work form a number of sources including their own Private Customers sourced from advertising, Estate agents, Insurance Companies, Manufactures and Work Providers.

All of these sources of work are going to provide you with a great variety of work which will be important in keeping your cash flowing.

Their are a number of well established work providers out there that have a proven track recored in what they do.

However from time to time new work providers pop up. They obtain customers thorough marketing on the internet and may not have any real world appliance repair experience.

Traditionally they don’t last very long and have in the past, have had to shut down usually leaving engineers out of pocket.

We would encourage our members to exercise caution when agreeing to cover their work.

Our advise, when working with work providers and insurance companies, would be to request payment up front until you are satisfied with the stability of the organisation.

There are however a number of established work providers, some of which you pay them a fee rather than relying on them paying you. These are just a few that we and our members have personal worked with NAC, Repair Care, Repair Tech, and Glotech.

If you receive a request to do work for either a work provider or an insurance company that you haven’t heard of before, do your research. Ask questions and search on the forums for other engineers recommendations.

To become a member of TheIWGE please click HERE

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Register my appliance day

The Institute for White Goods Engineers are very happy in adding our support for Register my appliance day as an essential campaign that will save lives.

AMDEA (The Association of Manufactures of Domestic Appliances) are spear heading this campaign as an important but often missed step in the purchase of a new appliance.

As modern living advances the demand for appliance and white goods has increased, add to this the growing population, then it goes with out saying that we will see a rise in the number of faulty appliances hitting news headlines.

AMDEA members have invested millions of pounds in to developing environmentally friendly technology to greatly improve the efficiency of their appliances.

Technology has advanced from mechanically switched to electronically controlled circuits. This makes them more sensitive to their environment but does add greater control.

  1. an average new European washing machine consumes 44% less energy and 62% less water compared to an average washing machine made in 1985.
  2. in refrigeration, today’s best products consume only a quarter of the energy used by a typical refrigerator  made in 1990.

With more complex products on the market it is inevitable that from time to time faults will surface at component level.

Making the Register my appliance campaign vital.

Consumers lead busy lives and often filling in the registry card or going on line to register an appliance can be the last thing on their mind.

We have long felt that the registration proses should and could be done at the point of sale. In most cases the customers details have already been captured.

A simple API link to submit data to the manufactures portal could elevate the £100,000 spent on urging consumers to register their appliance.

This thought is backed up by a YouGov survey, carried out by AMDEA in December 2016, found that less than half (43%) of GB adults usually register their large domestic appliances, which leaves thousands of owners untraceable if a recall is required.

Electrical Safety First, Trading Standards and the Fire Services, including the 46 fire and rescue authorities across England and the Fire Services in Scotland and Wales all add their support to this campaign.

Registration is simple via this link

Register my appliance day

Once selected scroll to the Manufacture

 

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Know your pension options

Your pension options?

self-employed-pensions-government-boostIn the Governments Autumn Budget, they committed to making it easier for people to save at all stages your life.

Specifically, the Department for Work and Pensions highlighted “boosting pensions for the self-employed”. As part of that commitment, they are due to publish a paper that lays out the government’s approach to “increasing pension participation and savings persistency among the self-employed.”

Whoever; what does that mean in practice, and how can the government and the self-employed apply this in there business? Here are five options – see if there’s a way you can get a head-start.

Self-employed pensions options boost – 5 ways to do it

1. The ‘sidecar’ pension Option

In 2017 the Government reviewed whether auto-enrolment will work for the self-employed, and ultimately they concluded there’s no clear way it could. In the Autumn Budget, they suggested their focus may instead be on “a programme of targeted interventions and partnerships.”

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-employed (IPSE) gives an alternative to auto-enrolment – the ‘sidecar’ pension.

This option works by diverting money into both a pension and a savings account. Essentially they’re both separate ‘jars’ and it could give the self-employed more flexibility over how they use their money.

It would be possible to use the savings jar in emergencies, so this could be a more attractive option if and when you need easy access to your money.

National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) are trialling the sidecar option for the employed and workplace savings, so it could be an option for the self-employed sooner rather than later.

2. Make sure you think about pension option planning

Government guidance not tailored to self-employed pensions

The government’s ‘targeted interventions and partnerships’ could lead to more tailored guidance for the self-employed.

With guidance currently tailored to employees, those that are self-employed might be hoping that the government’s commitment leads to more help with pension planning in the future.

What should the self-employed think about now? It’s a good idea to consider all of your options for saving, including ISAs, which often give you more flexible access to your money if you need it in an emergency. You can save up to £20,000 tax-free in ISAs in 2018-19.

The government’s also introduced schemes like the Lifetime ISA and the Help to Buy ISA, which give you a bonus on top of your savings.

Plus, while advice doesn’t always come cheap, professional advisers will help you come up with an overall plan for your future. IPSE have identified the cost of advice as a barrier for the self-employed, so the government could focus on breaking down that barrier with its interventions and partnerships.

3. Remember the tax relief in pension options

Tax relief is probably the best thing about a pension – you can get tax relief on contributions of up to 100 per cent of your annual earnings, or the £40,000 annual allowance, whichever is lower.

When basic rate taxpayers contribute to their pension, the government adds back the 20 per cent that’s usually deducted from their earnings.

But IPSE says that in focus groups, people say they don’t know what tax reliefs are available, so keeping tax-efficiency in mind could give the self-employed more incentive to save into a pension.

IPSE also recommends that the government further communicates the tax incentives available to encourage saving.

4. The mid-life MOT for pension options

As people live longer and the state pension age increases, a report by the Centre for Ageing Better has revealed that there’s strong appetite for a ‘mid-life MOT.’

Aviva, Legal and General (L&G), Mercer and The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) have all piloted their versions of the scheme, which include one-to-one advice, as well as online and group seminars.

The report says that demand for this kind of scheme was high, with organisations adding more sessions to accommodate people signing up.

If you’re in your 40s or 50s, taking stock of your finances now and planning for the future should help you lead a great retirement. With schemes like the mid-life MOT, the self-employed should have easier access to advice and guidance.

5. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

It’s important that you don’t rely on just one asset to fund your retirement. Whether that’s the sale of your business or the money tied up in your house, effective pension planning should make sure you’ve got a diverse range of assets to see you through when you stop working.

As mentioned in point two, professional advice here can help. A good plan will factor in particular assets, while also working out how to diversify your pension pot so you don’t just rely on one source.

Advise courtesy of Simply Business.

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The Grenfell Tower fire

The enquiry, following the fire in Grenfell Tower which tragically killed 72 people, has heard that the ignition point was probably caused by a poor connection on a Hotpoint FF175BP Fridge Freezer.

 

Dr John Duncan Glover concluded that last year’s June 14th fire probably began in the Hotpoint FF175BP in the kitchen of Flat 16.

 

A public inquiry into the disaster, was on Tuesday shown a picture of the connector thought to have overheated and started the fire.

Investigators recovered the evidence from the relay compressor compartment at the rear of the fridge freezer.

 

Electrical fire expert Dr Glover highlighted the “poor crimp connection”, which increased the resistance across its connection creating heat.

The principal engineer at Failure Electrical, a firm which investigates electrical failures, said spaces seen in images taken from CT scans indicated it had not been “properly crimped”.

“I found voids in all 80 cross-sections indicating the crimp was not nice and tight,” he said.

 

In a report prepared for the inquiry Dr Glover concluded: “A probable cause of the fire is a poor crimp connection for… an overheated wire connector within the compressor relay compartment for the fridge freezer (Hotpoint Model FF175BP) from Flat 16.”

He said: “The overheating connector in my opinion was the first event that started burning the insulation on the wires that led to a short circuit.”

Dr Glover added: “The overheating of the crimp starts the fire.

“It overheats, it glows, it ignites.”

A spokesperson for Whirlpool said: “We are committed to assisting the Grenfell Tower Inquiry in any way we can as it continues to investigate all the potential origins and causes of the fire and how it spread.

“Separately, we would like to reassure owners of these products that they are safe and they can continue to use them as normal.

“Nothing matters more to us than people’s safety. That’s why as soon as we were made aware of this incident, we launched an investigation into the model of fridge freezer that was said to have been involved.

 

“Two separate investigations have been carried out – one by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and another by Whirlpool. Both investigations independently found no evidence of any fault with this model and confirmed that it fully complied with all safety requirements. These conclusions have also been verified by the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser.

“All fridges, freezers, and fridge freezers across all our UK brands – including Hotpoint, Indesit and Whirlpool – are manufactured with solid metal or aluminium laminate flame-retardant back panels.”

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ASWO UK new appointment

 Nick Viney, previously from Hoover Candy as European Key Account Manager and Whirlpool as Spares Sales Manager, has joined AWSO UK as Head of Sales, his role will include looking after key accounts and business development with trade customers and manufacturers across the domestic appliance, consumer electronics, IT, Telecoms and Home Automation sectors.

ASWO is one of Europes main spare parts distributors and as part of their growth plans are making inroads into the UK and Irish markets offering an exclusive business to business approach to sales. This refreshing approach will rival the likes of Connect Distribution and Qualtex who both offer B2B and B2C spares.

He commented: “I am delighted to join ASWO, a company that I have admired and respected for some time, using my industry knowledge combined with the unique business to business only, partnership approach, it really is the perfect timing for ASWO to become a key player in after sales service in the UK and Ireland.”

An account can be opened through there web site shopuk.aswo.com or by calling 0808 234 3136

www.aswo.com

 

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Electronic waste, is it a ticking time bomb?

According to reports e-waste (electronic waste) is estimated to reach a record high in 2018.

An estimated 50 million metric tonnes, according to Statista, of toxic e-waste will be produced.

With populations growing and the average life span of electronic goods decreasing, the e-waste that is generated is steadily increasing.

Supermarket pricing has to some degree added to the situation as budget brands on white goods have become un economical to repair with consumers opting to replace rather than investigate the repair which is a shame as often the repair can be as simple as a blocked drain pump.

The up side to this is any recycler that has invested in re-use gain an appliance that can be put back onto the market for very little cost.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) stated that reducing the lifespan of a product companies may drive sales, but this comes at the expense of citizens and the planet. #RightToRepair

The EEB launched a short film today to highlight the problem and urge EU governments to pass proposed laws that would oblige manufacturers to make products more durable and more easily repairable.

The EEB is Europe’s largest network of environmental organisations with around 140 members in over 30 countries.

The Right to Repair and other such campaigns may be the only way in which an environmental disaster can be everted.

Manufactures will need to get on board making products to last rather than designing them to fail in favour of profit.

We as consumers have the power to make a difference by only purchasing appliances that have a reputation for lasting and investing in repairs and performing preventative maintenance. The investment in a more expensive appliance can often work out cheaper in the long run as they are less likely to fail early.

Jean-Pierre Schweitzer, a product policy and circular economy officer with the EEB, said:

“E-waste is the next big environmental challenge in today’s digital society – a time bomb waiting to explode.

As recyclers struggle to deal with the growing amount of waste, our smartphones and white goods are buried in landfills or illegally exported to developing countries where they are often treated in informal or dangerous conditions.

Toxic chemicals contained in these products can easily leak in the environment and have even been found recycled products such as children’s toys.

Manufacturers must embrace eco-design so that the generation of e-waste is minimised in the first place and their products can be easily repaired.”

The EEB joins thousands of activists and independent repairers across the world in celebrating International Repair Day (October 20). Learn more about how we’re fighting for people’s ‘right to repair’.

Key facts

  • Toxic chemicals contained in e-waste may leak in the environment, posing ‘a major threat to human health’ said the United Nations.
  • Flame retardants have been found in children’s toys and consumer goods made from recycled plastics, a new study revealed this week.
  • E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream, accounting for 70% of the toxic waste in US landfills. The United Nations has denounced its improper and unsafe treatment and disposal.
  • Only 20% of global e-waste is recycled. Much of the waste produced in Europe continues to be exported illegally to Africa and Asia, where it is recycled in informal and dangerous conditions.
  • 77% of EU consumers would rather repair their goods than buy new ones (Eurobarometer 2014).
  • Computers, screens, smartphones, tablets and TVs account for half of the global e-waste. The remainder is larger household appliances, heating and cooling equipment or other commercial e-waste.

What are governments and the EU doing?

  • The European Commission has proposed rules for manufacturers to make our gadgets and home appliances more durable and easily repairable. The European Parliament has also urged governments to take those provisions on board as soon as possible.
  • The proposed laws would require that products can be disassembled and reassembled again with designs that allow an easy access to the parts that could break. They would also require manufacturers to make replacement parts, instructions and tools available, while special provisions would improve durability and recycling. For now they mostly concern dishwashers, washing machines, fridges, lights, TVs, displays and servers.
  • EU governments are expected to either accept or reject these laws by the end of the year. Some countries are already set to oppose the proposed laws, NGOs revealed in September.

Will change happen?  Not if big business gets its way

Can we make a difference? Yes, by the way we approach purchases, repairs and reducing the e-waste and waste in general we produce.

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Causes of dwelling fires and fire-related fatalities

The following are some extracts from the Home Office report on house fires for April 2017 – March 2018. Its interesting to note that tumble dryers don’ get an individual mention but will be classified in with “other domestic Appliances” Cooking however is highlighted as being by far the main cause of domestic house fires.

The full report can be found here: Detailed analysis of fires attended by fire and rescue services, England, April 2017 to March 2018

Since 2010/11, the number of accidental dwelling fires has decreased by 13 per cent. This is in part due to a 16 per cent decrease (between 2010/11 and 2017/18) in fires where the ignition source was “cooking appliances”, as these make up around half of all accidental dwelling fires. Other ignition types that have contributed to the decrease include “space heating appliances” and “central and water heating appliances” (a decrease of 27% and 26% over the same time period, respectively). (Source: FIRE0602). Figure 6.1 shows the proportion of accidental dwelling fires, and their resulting non-fatal casualties and fire-related fatalities, attributable to different sources of ignition. 16 It shows that while some ignition sources cause many fires, they often result in relatively few fire-related fatalities, and vice versa.17 Specifically:

• Cooking appliances were by far the largest ignition category for accidental dwelling fires and non-fatal casualties from accidental dwelling fires, accounting for 48 per cent of these incidents each in 2017/18. In contrast, cooking appliances were the source of ignition in only seven per cent of accidental dwelling fire-related fatalities.

• Smokers’ materials (such as lighters, cigarettes, cigars or pipe tobacco) were the source of ignition in seven per cent of accidental dwelling fires and nine per cent of accidental dwelling fire non-fatal casualties in 2017/18. In contrast, smokers’ materials were the source of ignition in 20 per cent of fire-related fatalities in accidental dwelling fires in 2017/18.

• In previous years, smoker’s materials have been by far the largest ignition category involved in accidental dwelling fire-related fatalities. However, ‘Other electrical appliances’ was the largest category in 2017/18 due to the Grenfell Tower fire (specifically a fridge freezer which was recorded as the source of ignition for the fire) accounting for 34 per cent of fire-related fatalities in accidental dwelling fires. (Source: FIRE0602).

Main cause of, and material mainly responsible for, dwelling fires Exactly how a fire originated, and then the material which was mainly responsible for it spreading, are both important determinants in the outcomes of fires. Notably, and similarly to sources of ignition, above, the most common causes and materials responsible for the spread of fires are not those that lead to the greatest proportion of fire-related fatalities. Specifically: •

Of the 27,621 accidental dwelling fires in 2017/18, 34 per cent were caused by “misuse of equipment or appliances” (see figure 6.2 below), similar to the 35 per cent in 2016/17. The second largest cause category was “faulty appliances and leads” which caused 16 per cent of all accidental dwelling fires. (Source: FIRE0601)

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