You are currently viewing Right to repair gets a big boost

Right to repair gets a big boost

Electronic components await inspection and possible repair at the Stilbruch workshop in Hamburg, Germany.

Legislation is pushing back against a waste-based economy by requiring companies to help customers fix their appliances and electronics.

In this report by Klaus Sieg, Europe Reduces Waste by Guaranteeing the Right to Repair (Next City, February 26, 2021)

Lamps, dishwashers, and vacuum cleaners. Computers, smartphones, and TV receivers piled high on tin shelves.

The products don’t work properly, and that’s the point.  They should and they should be repairable.

Here at Stilbruch, the department store in Hamburg, Germany, run by the city’s sanitation department, only goods that others have thrown away are offered for sale. But before they are sold, they are checked and, if necessary, repaired in Hottgenroth’s 7,500-square-foot workshop. The process is something of a dying art. “Unfortunately, [repair] is no longer intended for most appliances,” says Hottgenroth, Stilbruch’s operations manager.

But that may be changing. Across Europe, legislation is pushing back against a waste-based economy and restoring for citizens something companies have gradually taken away: the right to repair what they’ve bought.

A worker at the Stilbruch repair workshop. Photo from Hamburg Sanitation Department.

Fix It or Forget It

Hottgenroth sees every day how many appliances end up in the trash. Although often all they need is a fresh battery or receiver, “Spare parts are hard to come by, and all the components are soldered, glued, or riveted,” he says. This is why, while his employees can fix many products, many are unsalvageable. “Because of their design, devices often break just when you try to open them.” In addition, there is usually no longer any provision for upgrading and adapting devices to new technical standards. “This should be banned,” Hottgenroth says flatly.

Get the full story at this link: Right to repair