Right to Repair movement gains traction in the US

New York State could be the first to pass the Fair Repair Act if enough New Yorkers write to their legislators by June 19. This latest batch of state legislation relates to the sale of digital electronic equipment. It requires original equipment manufacturers to provide diagnostic and repair information to make it easier to repair equipment. This saves a huge amount of material that otherwise would end in landfill or at the recycling yard, which is not much better for the environment.

New York public radio station WNYC recently broadcast an interview with Jason Koebler, editor in chief at Motherboard, who outlined the case for repair. He mentioned the Minnesota’s Right to Repair Bill, which Techbuyer staff recently supported with calls to their representatives, as the best hope for legislation this year. He also explained how recycling is not the best option for electronics, despite its reputation as an environmentally friendly option:

“Recycling an electronic is not that much better than throwing away. You can’t recycle the rare earth elements that are getting mined, we just don’t have the processes for it. If you repair it and use it for a few more years… you are preventing people from all over the world working in what are often pretty bad conditions and pretty environmentally unfriendly conditions extracting these minerals from the Earth,” he explained.  

There is increasing political support for consumers’ right to fix equipment, save dollars and provide a better alternative than throwing precious materials and engineering away. 21 Democrats and 5 Republicans are sponsoring the New York Assembly Bill, introduced on 1st May. 3 Democrats are sponsoring the New York Senate Bill, from June 4. This level of support makes the future bright for Americans who want to be able to carry out their own maintenance on farming equipment and consumer electronics.

Despite this, the US Right to Repair movement are far from complacent. Repair.org recently put out a call for support from all those who believe people should have the right to fix equipment they won. It underlined how important grassroots support is from all residents of New York State/

“Do you know anyone in New York State?,” they asked. “If so, it’s time to ask them to call or write their legislators and demand a vote on Digital Fair Repair this session. This time of year hundreds of bills are vying for attention -- and if we make more buzz than others -- ours can be a priority.”

As part of our support of the Right to Repair, we’re spreading the word. All our New York customers, staff and suppliers can add their voice here: