World Don’t Toss It, Fix It! Europe Is Guaranteeing Citizens the “Right to Repair”

tom_mai78101

The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host
Staff member
Roman Hottgenroth is surrounded by lamps, dishwashers and vacuum cleaners. Computers, smartphones and TV receivers are piled high on tin shelves behind him. A group of washing machines rattles loudly in test mode, only somewhat drowned out by the bass thumping from a hi-fi system an employee is checking.

None of these products work properly, and that’s the point.

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 up 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.

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 others 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.


Read more here. (Reasons to be Cheerful)
 

Ghan

Administrator - Servers are fun
Staff member
Unfortunately it will probably take legislation to do this since things are becoming so integrated with technology these days. We hear stories more and more about some gadget that the manufacturer remotely kills with an update, or simply by refusing to provide further updates after a certain date. This is getting really bad. We need better ways to either repair things or fully recycle them properly so the materials can be reused somewhere else. Smartphones are a huge problem with so many of them being completely obsolete after two years because the manufacturer won't update them anymore.
 
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