It felt like a lot had happened in 2023. But already there is much happening in 2024, especially on the campaign front.
In the UK
After months of nudging, a few councils and waste authorities have responded positively to the ‘act now‘ campaign. This aims to provide more support for repair and reuse in the UK. A particular ‘shout out’ goes to North London Waste Authority, Scottish Government, South Cambridge, West Midlands and Powys. They all took the time to respond and provide more information on their commitments.
DEFRA have also responded, but focussed on their policy paper “The waste prevention programme for England: Maximising Resources, Minimising Waste”. This aims “to use fewer new resources, drive up the repair and reuse of existing materials, and increase recycling“. They are currently consulting on “reforming the producer responsibility system for waste electrical and electronic equipment“. There are a number of good provisions (around funding and producer and large retailer responsibilities). But there are major concerns about the proposals to use kerb-side collection for electrical and electronic items. Given that around 40-50% of these items are reusable and repairable, leaving them ‘kerb-side’ is not god. It is likely to render them all useless and simply create more waste! You have an opportunity to provide input to this consultation – the deadline to respond is 7 March 2024, the link is here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/product-regulation-and-producer-responsibility/consultation-on-reforming-the-producer-responsibil/
In the USA
USPIRG, iFixit and other campaigners continue to make progress on getting state legislatures to adopt Right to Repair. Following success in California, Oregon is adopting a right to repair. Importantly, Google have come out in support of meaningful proposals. These include:
– Repair parts: ensuring that parts are accessible to the public and no parts pairing or registration. This enables small businesses and local repairers to thrive and grow.-
– Accessible tools: and an on-device Diagnostic App to help users test device functionality before and after repairs.
– Clear instructions: with redesigned repair manuals and information on how to order parts, view repair manuals, and run diagnostic tests.
More details on the Google commitment to repair – “Repair is a critical component of Google’s focus on enabling product longevity and sustainability“
All good stuff. We look forward to Apple and Samsung doing likewise very soon.
In other news
More community repair groups are starting up in the UK. This includes Islington Fixers, who will hold their first event on 20 January 2024 at the Islington Climate Centre. This is in partnership with the Restart Project.
My ‘unbroken.solutions’ exhibition was hosted by the Islington Climate Centre in late 2022. Thank you and Good luck!!