Companies don’t make things like they used to, and that’s a big problem. Not long ago, most consumer goods and business products were easily repaired with parts that were widely available. But more and more, manufacturers of cell phones, medical devices, appliances and even tractors have implemented various legal, digital and physical barriers that prevent consumers from doing their own repairs or using independent repair shops.
The result is a massive amount of waste — in fact, electronic waste is now the fastest growing waste stream in the world. Americans purchase about 160 million new smartphones each year — a habit that takes some 23.7 million tons of raw material to satisfy. Continuing to extract, produce and consume electronics at this rate is simply not sustainable.
We are working to pass Right to Repair laws that would require manufacturers like Apple, John Deere and Microsoft to provide consumers and independent repairers with access to the parts, physical and software tools, and information such as schematics at a fair and reasonable price. By fixing our laws, we can make it easier to fix our stuff. That’s good for us, and good for the planet.
Senior Director, Campaign for the Right to Repair, U.S. PIRG Education Fund
Director, Campaign for the Right to Repair, U.S. PIRG Education Fund