The right to repair

The right to repair has been on the news to today.  Coincidentally I earlier passed the Edinburgh Remakery on my way to get some lime for my wall.  The news reporter visited the same type of organisation in Leicester.  There is increasing pressure for the right to repair since so many products seem to be made with built in obsolescence in mind.  The EU is passing a law which would this make it easier (what Brexit will mean for this is anybodies guess).  There are essentially two related issues which the news covered.  The first is whether the product is designed with repair in mind.  The second is whether the product manufacturer will allow third party repairers access to information that will allow them to repair the product.  In some cases consumers don’t have the right to repair the product without invalidating the warranty.

The Remakery and other places that work on the same principle offer tools, space and advice for a fee. They also do surgeries where you bring along products.  Volunteers will repair your product for a donation.  Examples given on a programme include irons where the only problem is the lead is damaged at the iron end (had this).  By replacing the lead the iron is as good as new.

There have been bills passed in various US states giving consumers more rights to repair but there has been pushback by manufacturers.  When I was young you could get anything repaired.  There was a culture of repair which has vanished.  Its this that needs to be rediscovered especially as we need to move to a circular economy.

Neil

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