This Saturday is International Repair Day — a day to celebrate the joyful, planet-saving work of repair.
As we use more and more stuff, for a shorter and shorter duration, we’re creating an ecological disaster. According to the U.S. EPA, electronic waste is now the fastest growing part of our waste stream and we dispose of 416,000 cell phones per day.
There’s a better way: We can fix what we already have. All around the world, people celebrate Repair Day by fixing products and joining free community repair events. According to Repair Cafe Hudson Valley, the towns of Pound Ridge, Hastings-On-Hudson, Yorktown and Mamaroneck, New York, will be hosting such events soon. At RepairDay.org you can see hundreds of similar events around the world.
The best way for New York to celebrate Repair Day is for Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign the Fair Repair Act, and make the Empire State an international leader on repair.
Passed overwhelmingly by the legislature in June, the Fair Repair Act makes sure that local fixers can access the parts, tools and information needed to repair modern gadgets. It’s an incredibly popular idea — but also one that draws intense opposition from large multinational manufacturers and tech companies.
Those companies and their herds of corporate lobbyists are pressing the governor to oppose the bill. That’s why I just delivered a letter, signed by U.S. PIRG and NYPIRG, Consumer Reports, Environment New York. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), The Story of Stuff Project, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter.
Mostly, their arguments have already been debunked. They made those same points to Federal Trade Commission investigators, who found “scant evidence” in support, and then called for strong action on Right to Repair. FTC staff were critical to shaping the current bill waiting for Gov. Hochul’s signature.
From events in the Hudson Valley, to Repair Cafes held in Ugandan refugee camps, people have started spreading the news everywhere. And all eyes are on New York. If we can make it there, we’ll make it anywhere, and usher in a new era of repair, where manufacturers can no longer push us to upgrade or pay through the nose to fix our products. Instead, everyone will have a chance to take part in the convenience and joy of fixing stuff.
Senior Director, Campaign for the Right to Repair, PIRG
Nathan leads U.S. PIRG’s Right to Repair campaign, working to pass legislation that will prevent companies from blocking consumers’ ability to fix their own electronics. Nathan lives in Arlington, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children.