CALPIRG Education Fund
Here in California, we want to fix our stuff.
Something breaks, or doesn’t work right. You could throw it away, but you don’t want to be wasteful so you try to figure out how to get it fixed.
According to a review of data from iFixit, a self-described “repair guide for everything, written by everyone,” nearly 8 million unique users from California went onto their website, www.ifixit.com, to look up how to repair something in 2018.
Looking more closely into that data from iFixit, the top ten device types that Californians attempted to fix were cell phones, laptops, automobiles, gaming consoles, desktop computers, tablets, watches, wireless speakers, vacuums and headphones. Cell phone repair guides were by far the most popular, receiving about 27% of all the page views.
Unfortunately, for much of the stuff Californians are trying to fix, we can’t get the information, schematics, diagnostic software, parts and tools we need from the manufacturers.
Making it hard to fix electronic devices increases the number of fixable devices that enter our waste stream and the number of new devices that need to be produced. Not only does this cost consumers money as we are forced to purchase unnecessary, new devices, but it also requires us to waste materials and energy producing those devices.
The easiest action the consumer electronics industry can take is making its devices with repairability in mind. Making repair more accessible will increase the likelihood that people repair their devices, save money, and prevent another device from entering our waste stream.
If the electronics industry wants to become more transparent and consumer-friendly, manufacturers should adopt and adhere to basic Right to Repair principles which include providing the information, schematics, software, tools, and parts necessary to repair their devices for free or at fair cost. California’s governor and legislators should consider taking action to ensure Californians have the ability to repair their stuff.