Fight to Repair Daily: Monday October 10 2022

Fixing my Sony WH-1000XM3 convinced me of the right to repair

A few months back, my Sony WH-1000XM3 battery died after nearly three years of faithful service. Although the headphones still worked over 3.5mm, I lost all Bluetooth and ANC functionality. Without a warranty, I was facing the prospect of forking over nearly £200 for a replacement pair or upgrading to the £350 Sony

Sony doesn’t sell WH-1000XM3 battery replacements, and there’s no transparent pricing about out-of-warranty repairs from one of its trusted partners (guaranteed it’ll be outrageously expensive). Instead, I had to source a third-party alternative. Thankfully, there were plenty of batteries for sale on Amazon and eBay, but it requires a little bit of knowledge about battery voltages and capacities to double-check their suitability. Plus, they’re often more expensive than a battery really should be; you can buy general-purpose li-ion and li-poly batteries for less than $5 at electronics retailers.

Even after all my research, the replacement battery I settled on was a fraction larger than Sony’s already snugly fit original. See the image below — the original is on the left. It was a bit of a squeeze to fit it into the frame, and you should always be very careful about applying pressure to batteries. Before even getting into the nitty gritty of conducting the repair, the process would have been much easier if Sony, and other manufacturers, stocked essential replacements in a simple storefront. (Android Authority)

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Why Big Tech shreds millions of storage devices it could reuse

Companies like Amazon and Microsoft routinely destroy used hard drives in the name of data security — but industry insiders say there is a better option

Every day when you fire off emails, update a Google document or take a photo, the data generated is not stored in a “cloud” as the metaphor suggests. Instead it is stowed across several of the world’s estimated 70mn servers, each one a steel box about the size of a kitchen sink, made up of all sorts of precious metals, critical minerals and plastics. The servers contain several data-storing devices, each roughly the size of a VCR tape. They sit inside the world’s 23,000 data centres, some of which span floorspace equivalent to dozens of Olympic-sized swimming pools. When companies decide they want to upgrade their equipment, which usually happens every three to five years, data storing devices are routinely destroyed in a process like the one Payne described.

Companies such as Amazon and Microsoft, as well as banks, police services and government departments, shred millions of data-storing devices each year, the Financial Times has learnt through interviews with more than 30 people who work in and around the decommissioning industry and via dozens of freedom of information requests. (The Financial Times)

🇨🇦 A real right to compensation claimed in Quebec

The Quebec government is dragging its feet on giving consumers rights to repair the appliances and electronics they buy that tend to break down too quickly. Last year, France passed regulations to make it easier to repair devices, and 18 US states have bills to that effect.

In the province, aggrieved buyers are still forced to turn to manufacturers or sue in small claims when they have problems. This is what Julie Latrémouille, a mother of five children, did. She and her spouse bought a fridge in 2015 for $1,400. The device functioned higgledy-piggledy for 6 and a half years until a final verdict.

The consumer estimated the life of the fridge at 12 to 14 years. The trader and manufacturer from 8 to 12 years. She refused the manufacturer’s compensation of $300 and instead defended herself in small claims court, invoking the legal warranty.

“And the judge concludes 12 years. We got $1,238 and $338 for the extended warranty,” she says, showing the judgment that was in her favor.

In 2019, MP Guy Ouellet tabled a bill which received support from all parties, but which has still not been adopted. Bill 197 proposes a repairability index, as is the case in France.

“We realized that the real avenue to consider was rather to try to assert and recognize the right to repair rather than to fight against planned obsolescence,” says Jonathan Mayer, lecturer at the University of Sherbrooke, who worked on the bill with his students.

(OI Candian)

Farm equipment ‘right to repair’ hearings begin in North Carolina

Kicking off a series of public hearings to study “right to repair” legislation for farm equipment, state legislators heard a detailed presentation last Wednesday from a John Deere dealership and several other equipment companies.

The hearings stem from a controversial provision that got removed from the annual farm bill during the short session. As agricultural equipment gets increasingly complicated with electronics, some farmers complain that they aren’t able to make minor fixes and instead have to haul machinery to a dealership. Proposed legislation would change that, but equipment dealers and manufacturers argue the change could lead to major safety concerns. After one hearing at the legislature earlier this year, farm bill sponsor Sen. Brent Jackson, R-Sampson, agreed to delete the provision and hold further hearings on the issue.

A member of the commission questioned whether emissions regulations are the root of the problem, given that equipment dealers are worried that do-it-yourself repair jobs could result in emissions violations. But those regulations are set by the federal government, not the state legislature. (The Coastland Times)

🧵 Visible mending: making slow fashion cool

Fast fashion is devastating for the planet. It is responsible for the production of around 92 million tonnes of textile waste and 8-10% of global CO2 emissions per year. Despite a growing awareness of these effects, the industry continues to grow with global production of clothing almost twice what it was before the year 2000. As a small example of this, the popular fashion brand Shein adds a shocking 6,000 items to its range every day. Fast fashion brands encourage consumer to buy more clothes than ever with increasingly low prices and ever-changing trends. The environmental impact of the production and disposal of these garments can no longer be justified; the fast fashion industry must be replaced in its entirety.

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How can we begin to address this? The size of the problem is overwhelming and the transition to slow fashion complex. As is the case with many problems, the simplest course of action is to start small. How can you address the effects of fast fashion you produce? An easy place to start is with the practice of visible mending, repairing damaged items of clothing through stylish eye-catching mends in order to extend their lifespan.

Repairing clothes has a long history but the rise of fast fashion and the right to repair movement have re-contextualised it. To many, visible mending is a defiant statement against an industry that priorities profit over quality and sustainability. Rather than hiding age or damage, visible mending calls attention to it, presenting it as a valuable addition to the garment. Repairs are eye-catching and present themselves as a visible statement of support for slow fashion. (The Bubble)

California Overhauls State’s Battery Extended Producer Responsibility Program, Expands E-Waste Program

On September 16, 2022, Governor Newsom signed AB 2440 and SB 1215, overhauling California’s existing battery extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes and expanding the state’s e-waste program. AB 2440, the Responsible Battery Act of 2022, sunsets the existing Cell Phone Recycling Act of 2004 and the Rechargeable Battery Act of 2006, creating a singular EPR program for batteries within the state. SB 1215 expands the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 (EWRA) to include battery-embedded products and broadens the EWRA’s definition of manufacturers.

AB 2440: A new battery EPR scheme will require battery producers to create or fund stewardship programs for collecting and recycling most batteries sold within California, beginning no later than April 1, 2027.

SB 1215: The new law expands the EWRA to cover battery-embedded products, requiring consumers to pay a fee at the point of sale for any new or refurbished product with an embedded battery. The law also expands the reporting requirements for manufacturers of all covered electronic devices. The point-of-sale fee will take effect beginning January 1, 2026, while the new reporting requirements will take effect beginning July 1, 2027.

(National Law Review)