California Right to Repair charges ahead

People in the Golden State just want to fix their stuff. Sacramento lawmakers are doing something about it.

Cheryl Auger | TPIN
Some of the speakers who spoke in favor of Right to Repair and SB 244 (the Right to Repair Act) at the Repair Café. Speakers from left to right are: Robin Cox, Owner of Remainders Creative Reuse; Ginko Lee, a lead organizer of the Pasadena Repair Café; Phoenix Luther, Pasadena High School Student and repair enthusiast; Felicia Williams, Pasadena Vice Mayor; Dan Brotman, Glendale City Councilmember and incoming Mayor; Cheryl Auger, President of Ban SUP and Owner of My Zero Waste Store; Sander Kushen, CALPIRG Consumer Advocate; Dr. Elizabeth Chamberlain, Director of Sustainability at iFixit
PIRG Right to Repair Campaign Director speaks at a podium in front of a National Farmers Union backdrop.
Kevin O'Reilly

Former Director, Campaign for the Right to Repair, PIRG

Are we condemned to a culture of replace rather than repair?

Californian’s emphatic response is “No!” That’s the firm belief held by 75% of Californians surveyed by CALPIRG, with strong support from Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike. This consensus has given rise to the robust Right to Repair movement in California and beyond.

Now, thanks to the leadership of California Sen. Susan Eggman and organizational cosponsors CALPIRG, iFixit and Californians against waste, Right to Repair is closer than ever to becoming law in the Golden State. SB 244, the Right to Repair Act, passed through the Assembly Judiciary Committee without a single opposing vote last week. Recent votes—including a 7-0 vote in the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee and a 38-0 vote to pass through the State Senate—show the broad support we’ve helped build in the state.

As we move closer to providing California consumers with repair relief, let’s look back at what we’ve done and why we’re doing it.

Public Domain | Public Domain
CALPIRG Director Jenn Engstrom testifies in favor of Right to Repair.

Battling the E-Waste Menace

Both California and the nation face a grave electronic waste (e-waste) crisis. Californian households alone generate an astonishing 772,000 tons of e-waste each year, leaching toxic chemicals into our environment.

This staggering figure is due in part to manufacturers’ restrictions on access to vital repair components for a range of devices—from smartphones to refrigerators. Consequently, consumers are funneled back to the original manufacturers, who often inflate repair prices to the point where purchasing a new device seems the more economical choice.

Transformative Power of Right to Repair Reforms

Right to Repair reforms, like the one CALPIRG is pioneering, promise to inject competition and expand consumer choice in the repair market. An increased number of repair options allows consumers to fix their devices affordably, potentially resulting in annual savings of over $5 billion for Californian households.

Moreover, prolonging the life of products and diverting them from the landfill is a crucial step towards curbing our e-waste crisis and curtailing unnecessary resource extraction and production. This vision fuels CALPIRG’s campaign to realize the Right to Repair in California.

A Tide of Endorsement

As we’ve worked to spread the word about the ways that repair access can help consumers and the environment, we’ve recruited support from important constituencies and in-state organizations. This underscores the groundswell of public support for the Right to Repair that has built up, aligning with a surge of national momentum. Some notable highlights of this support include:

  1. A ringing endorsement from the Los Angeles Times editorial board.
  2. Backing from over 100 local elected officials, 80 repair shops, and 50 consumer, environmental, and waste management groups
  3. Tons of support in Los Angeles: LA County and LA Unified School District have all submitted official support for SB 244. The LA City Council is considering a resolution to do the same. 
  4. Testimony in favor of the bill from Dan Salsburg of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), citing the FTC’s “Nixing the Fix” report, which found “scant evidence to support manufacturers’ justifications for repair restrictions.
  5. CALPIRG’s release of a repairability score card for major electronics brands, which was covered by various media outlets.
Staff | TPIN
Dan Salsburg, the FTC's Chief Counsel for Development and Innovation, SB 244 author Sen. Susan Eggman and CALPIRG Director Jenn Engstrom following a successful hearing before the CA Senate Judiciary Committee.

California could pass the strongest consumer electronics Right to Repair bill yet

By requiring electronics and appliance manufacturers to provide access to repair materials for three to seven years, the California Right to Repair Act would be the strongest law of its kind. We’ll keep pushing until it becomes law.


Kevin O'Reilly

Former Director, Campaign for the Right to Repair, PIRG