According to a BBC report in 2022, 5.3 billion mobile phones are thrown away; the majority of which end up in e-waste dumps.
Enter the right-to-repair movement.
The movement argues that manufacturers should be required to make repair information and replacement parts readily available to the public, rather than keeping them proprietary.
The main argument of the right-to-repair movement is that when consumers are able to repair their own devices, it not only saves them money but also helps prolong the life of the device and reduce electronic waste. In addition, the movement argues that giving consumers the ability to repair their own devices also promotes innovation and competition in the repair market.
One of the key issues that the right-to-repair movement is fighting against is what is known as “planned obsolescence.” This is the practice of designing devices with a limited lifespan in order to encourage consumers to buy new ones. The movement argues that this practice not only harms consumers financially but also contributes to the growing problem of electronic waste.
In recent years, the right-to-repair movement has gained momentum and has seen some success in several countries. In the United States, Massachusetts and New York have introduced legislation to give consumers the right to repair their own devices.
However, the movement still faces significant opposition from manufacturers, who argue that allowing consumers to repair their own devices could compromise safety and security. Despite these challenges, the right-to-repair movement continues to gain support from consumers, environmental groups and independent repair shops.
As technology continues to advance and electronic devices become an increasingly integral part of our daily lives, the movement’s push for the right to repair is likely to gain even more traction in the years to come.
New York state governor Kathy Hochul signed the Digital Fair Repair Act into law, months after it had passed both chambers of the state’s legislature with overwhelming bipartisan majorities. This makes New York the first and only state to broadly protect a consumer’s right to repair their own tech and has catalyzed the right-to-repair movement.
According to a study by TheVerge, many tech companies like Google and Samsung have started to sell phone components on iFixit. Microsoft also launched an internal study to make more repairable products, while Apple created giant repair kits to people who wanted to make at-home repairs.
However, with this new push in the movement, one might question how this might affect the average consumer with little to no background in electronics repair.
According to an Apple 2022 press release, “For the vast majority of customers who do not have experience repairing electronic devices, visiting a professional repair provider with certified technicians who use genuine Apple parts is the safest and most reliable way to get a repair.”
Another report by TheVerge said that the cost of repairs is only marginally lower than sending your broken electronics to an authorized apple repair center.
According to the report from TheVerge, “If you were expecting a DIY repair to be a way of saving money, then you might be a little disappointed. Apple’s pricing for some of the most common replacement parts is very similar to what it’ll charge you to do the repairs at an Apple Store, even when you’re the one delicately taking your phone apart to swap out a broken part.”
To learn more about the movement, view petitions online.