The Right to Repair Your Gadgets & Why You Should Care

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Large corporations push a trillion dollar campaign against the consumer’s Right to Repair their devices, creating tons of Electronic Waste. EcoJustice Radio speaks with advocates from iFixit and US PIRG pushing for consumer rights and options to reduce waste and get the most out of our purchases.

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Right to RepairOvercoming Planned Obsolescence and Keeping Products Out of Landfills

If you own something, shouldn’t you be able to take it to a technician of your choice or fix it yourself and be given access to the parts, tools, and service information necessary? Seems like a reasonable ask, but this isn’t always the case. Large corporations, like Apple, are aggressively lobbying against the consumers ability to repair their own devices.

They have enacted a trillion dollar lobbying campaign against Right to Repair that is fueling the fastest growing waste sector in the world, Electronic Waste. The mining, processing, and transportation of precious materials for our devices is a leading contributor to environmental and social justice issues.

On this show we discuss the Right to Repair movement, the social and environmental implications, the opposition’s efforts, and how and why we must move the needle.

Did you know tractor manufacturers have strong-armed the agricultural industry , not allowing them to personally fix their equipment if it breaks down? Or that at capacity hospitals with limited supplies aren’t able to get their hands on the service manuals needed to fix broken respirators and baby incubators.

Companies keep you from repairing your goods by requiring specific tools or gluing the working parts together, limiting access to software, and working with Border Control clamp down on so-called “counterfeit parts”. Is this about product safety or more so profiting off of repairs, increasing consumer purchase, and driving market share?

What will it take for people to be given the right to fix their own stuff easily and without repercussions?

States and the Federal Government are listening. There are numerous Right to Repair initiatives being proposed in states around the USA. Even the Biden Administration has signed an Executive Order in support. The EU and Canada are already moving forward. So what does this all mean?

STORY: Break Free From The Plastic Death Cycle

Kerry Maeve Sheehan is the U.S. Policy Lead at iFixit where she advocates for Right to Repair at the state, federal, and international levels. She has also worked for Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge, focusing on public interest issues in intellectual property law and technology policy.

Nathan Proctor is a 15-year veteran on public interest advocacy campaigns, and also is the associate director of U.S. PIRG New Economy Program, seeking to craft an economy that works for people and the planet. He is a member of the 2020 Grist 50 Fixers, emerging leaders championing a sustainable future.

Podcast Website: http://ecojusticeradio.org/
Podcast Blog: https://www.wilderutopia.com/category/ecojustice-radio/
Support the Podcast: https://socal350.org/contribute-to-socal-350-climate-action/

Executive Producer: Jack Eidt
Host/Producer: Jessica Aldridge
Engineer: Blake Lampkin
Show Created by Mark and JP Morris
Music: Javier Kadry
Episode 112
Image: iFixit

Updated 28 October 2021

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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist and designer, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature's all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion -- Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Partners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt