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'Right to Repair': Fixing Our Own Broken Stuff Should Be Standard
The workplace of the inventor's technique. The hands of the worker are bound by a chain as a symbol of the prohibition on repair. Andrey Bukreev / iStock / Getty Images Plus
When our smartphones, televisions or other gadgets stop working, it seems like the only choice we have is to get rid of it. This never-ending stream of electronic waste has created mountains of toxic trash that's hazardous to people and the planet.
That's why consumers and lawmakers in the U.S. and Europe are fighting back under the burgeoning "Right to Repair" movement that demands manufacturers make products that last longer and are easier to fix, BBC News reported.
At least 18 U.S. states are considering repair legislation and a similar proposal arose in European Parliament. States that have introduced "Right to Repair" bills include California, Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia.
This change can't come soon enough. E-waste is the fastest-growing waste stream in the world. In 2016, some 44.7 million metric tonnes of e-waste were generated globally, according to the Global E-waste Monitor 2017 (pdf). As more and more products come along, experts forecast an increase of e-junk to 52.2 million metric tonnes by 2021.
In March, California Assembly member Susan Talamantes Eggman introduced the "California Right to Repair Act" that would require manufacturers to release diagnostic and repair instructions, and make equipment or service parts available to product owners and to independent repair shops.
The bill was introduced just a handful of months after Apple was accused of slowing down older iPhones—a move that led some users to spend hundreds of dollars on new phones rather than simply replace the battery. That's not to mention that Apple makes their phones very difficult to crack open, making it hard to DIY a fix. (Apple apologized and offered a discount for battery replacement.)
"We should be working to reduce needless waste—repairing things that still have life—but companies use their power to make things harder to repair. Repair should be the easier, more affordable choice and it can be, but first we need to fix our laws," said Emily Rusch, executive director of CALPIRG, in a press release in support of the California bill. "Our recent survey, Recharge Repair, showed a surge in interest in additional repair options after Apple announced battery issues. The Right to Repair Act would give people those options."
Environmentalists say "Right to Repair" legislation will save resources and reduce carbon emissions from the manufacturing of new products. The New York Times pointed out that in Apple's latest sustainability report (pdf), each new Apple device produced emits an average of 90 kilograms of CO2.
Libby Peake from the UK-based think tank Green Alliance told BBC News "that at last politicians are waking up to an issue that the public have recognized as a problem for a long time."
Right to Repair laws make a lot of sense for our wallets and the environment, but manufacturers are opposed to the legislation.
Tech giants, including Apple and Microsoft, do not like users fixing their own devices because it could be a security risk to the user, according to the Verge. It's also very likely that these companies want us to keep buying more stuff.
- John Deere Just Cost Farmers Their Right to Repair | WIRED ›
- Right to Repair - iFixit ›
- Stand Up For Your Right to Repair — The Repair Association ›
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.