🇪🇺 EU Expanding Repair Rules in Broader Environmental Push
The European Commission is proposing a “Circular Economy Action Plan“. The goal is to make Europe’s economy more friendly to the environment.
💬 Communicating information on products will be a new requirement for businesses:
Durability: Sellers must inform costumers about the guaranteed durability of products.
Repairs and updates: The seller must also provide relevant information on repairs, and for smart devices and digital content and services, the consumer must be also informed about software updates provided by the producer.
🧼 Efforts to thwart greenwashing are proposed to come in the form of a greenwashing ‘blacklist’ to pressure companies as well as require more transparency on products’ environmental and social impacts.
🔋 Removable phone batteries might also be a possibility. The European Parliament has voted to mandate that everything from cellphones to e-bikes to have easily replaceable batteries, with the legislation coming into effect as soon as 2024.
📱 Samsung Launching Repair Program with Parts, Tools, and Guides
Samsung is starting small: Only owners of the Samsung Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S20 range of devices, and the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus tablet, will be eligible at first. The company plans to add more devices, but it declined to say when or which gadgets, like its latest Samsung Galaxy S22 family, would be added first.
Self-repair website iFixit is consulting with Samsung to improve iFixit’s repair guides and parts offerings, though the extent of the partnership is unclear. Still, bringing iFixit on board lends the program some cachet given the site’s guides and support for consumers’ right to repair their own devices. (cnet.com)
Wheelchair Right to Repair Passes Colorado House
HB22-1031, is a simple bill. “The bill requires a manufacturer to provide parts, embedded software, firmware, tools, or documentation, such as diagnostic, maintenance, or repair manuals, diagrams, or similar information, to independent repair providers and owners of the manufacturer’s powered wheelchairs to allow an independent repair provider or owner to conduct diagnostic, maintenance, or repair services on the owner’s powered wheelchair,” the Colorado legislature’s website explained.
Wheelchairs are an easy win for the right to repair, but the fight is far from over. “If it has a microchip in it, some manufacturer is going to try locking down the device against repair. We have had wheelchair repair advocates join our Right to Repair efforts since almost the beginning, but it’s incredible to see how far this conversation has come,” Gay Gordon-Byrne, the executive director of Repair.org, said in a statement. (vice.com)
Also read: Colorado Denied Its Citizens the Right-to-Repair After Riveting Testimony
Survey: America’s Independent Businesses See Monopoly Power As Biggest Threat
A recent survey of more than 900 small business owners found that market concentration and monopolistic practices by big companies are at the root of the most significant challenges faced by America’s independent businesses.
Nearly 2/3 of respondents rated as a major challenge the fact that their big competitors receive special discounts and terms from suppliers.
62% of businesses said Amazon’s control over the online market was a very or extremely significant challenge.
More than 1/2 of businesses reported that that their big competitors sell goods and services below cost, which is a predatory tactic well-heeled corporations can use to take market share from small rivals without having to compete for it. (ilsr.org)
Europe’s repair movement has a strong Asian influence
Though Asia and Africa figure way below in the list than Europe on e-waste per capita, it is important for them to quickly adopt the laws enforcing strict compliance with right to repair. There is no doubt that both these regions have historically had a very strong repair network, even if informal, mainly due to the fact that buying new gadgets is still very expensive for consumers here and there are ample repair professionals available that can fix a phone or a laptop for the fraction of the cost of replacement of these gadgets.
Asia, including India, has traditionally been the pioneer in repairing to extend lifecycles of numerous products, far beyond electronic goods, needs to ensure that instead of following the flawed western culture of disposing off goods, it must strengthen the practice even more as a way to fight climate change and waste generation. (mediaindia.eu)
Medical device manufacturers press Congress to eliminate competition in repair market
Medical device manufacturers are lobbying Congress to include language in the Medical Device User Fee Amendments—a must-pass piece of legislation currently in the House—that would change the definition of “remanufacturing” to include activities that have long been considered service or repair.
Such a change may seem banal, but that redefined language could severely hamper the ability of hospital technicians and independent service organizations to fix lifesaving equipment such as ventilators, dialysis machines and other devices throughout the hospital. That would require hospitals to turn to the manufacturer for many repairs, leading to service delays and high costs. (uspirg.org)
Latest “Right to Repair” Bill Could Signal Changes for Consumers and Manufacturers
According to the Senators who introduced the bill, the Fair Repair Act is designed to protect consumers, farmers, and small businesses by ensuring the right to repair “digital electronic equipment,” which the bill defines as “any product that depends for its functioning in whole or in part, on digital electronics embedded in or attached to the product.”
The Act’s scope is therefore purposely broad, but also carves out exceptions for medical devices and certain motor vehicles.
Proponents of the bill contend that it will reduce repair costs by fostering competition and minimizing electronic waste, all while ensuring the viability of small independent repair businesses.
Opponents of the bill, however, argue that it raises potential security and safety concerns. Implicit in these concerns is the potential for increased manufacturer liability.
I Agreed to What? The Surprising Rights Companies Claim in Terms of Service
In many cases, consumers don’t realize they’re actually buying a license to use something instead of owning it outright.
Prime Example: “You don’t buy [a] SodaStream device, you actually license it from a company,” says Daniel Kahn Gillmor, senior staff technologist at the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.
SodaStream also strongly discourages you from using another company’s gas cylinders in your device. And you don’t, it seems, have the right to refill SodaStream’s own containers on your own. Safety might be a reason for the legal language. Or it could simply be aimed at maintaining the company’s profits. SodaStream appears to make more money from refills than selling the core device, according to financial statements from before PepsiCo bought the company in 2018 in a $3.3 billion deal.
🛹 Louis Rossmann Spars With Electric Skateboard Company Over R2R
Rossmann: “Unplugging the battery BRICKS this device; you MUST go back to the manufacturer”
Other Repair News…
Opinion: Nostalgia Can Reignite Automotive Enthusiasm (aftermarketnews.com)
UK Plastic Tax Reshapes Global Supply Chains To Create Circular Economy (Forbes.com)
Opinion: Is it really cheaper to replace it? (lindsayadvocate.ca)
Brussels to present circular economy plans in bid to reduce waste (euronews.com)
Combatting Planned Obsolescence with 3D Printing: Who Owns Your Things? (3dprint.com)
How Google and Amazon bankrolled a ‘grassroots’ activist group of small business owners to lobby against Big Tech oversight (cnbc.com)