It’s September already! While these past few months have been challenging for most of us, the repair community came together to find innovative ways to support people keeping their stuff longer proving as such that repair is absolutely essential, especially in times of crisis. 

From organising community repair events online to repairing and refurbishing laptops for those who need them the most during the pandemic, repairers in Europe enabled those of us who don’t have the skills to fix our electronics to maintain access to these essential working and communication tools.

But not everyone is as convinced of the importance of repair. While the European Commission created a historic precedent by promising a ‘new right to repair’ to be established in its Circular Economy Action Plan, published earlier this year, change isn’t happening fast enough.

Here’s what we have planned to remind policymakers about the importance of a universal Right to Repair. 

Fast track regulations for longer lasting products 

The latest “Global e-waste monitor 2020” by the United Nations University” has shown that, in 2019, the world generated a striking 53.6 million tons of e-waste, an average of 7.3 kg per capita and the equivalent of 350 cruise ships the size of the Queen Mary 2. 

Right to Repair legislation would allow people to extend the lifetime of their products while mitigating the global stream of electronic waste However, manufacturers are resisting change. For example, some manufacturers of game consoles and printers are still pushing for voluntary agreements (aka commitments taken by the industry itself) to avoid regulations. Yet, these agreements are currently extremely weak and wouldn’t allow to effectively make products more repairable. We are watching these processes closely and will not hesitate to react if they remain unambitious and ineffective.

When it comes to consumers, the EU had ambitious plans to implement an “EU-wide” repairability scoring for products so that consumers would be informed of how repairable a product was before buying it. Unfortunately, this initiative has made little progress since 2019 and has been delayed further because of the pandemic, but also because it comes with a lot of challenges. Yet, we’re seeing that in France it’s doable, as  a repairability index will be implemented there on 5 categories of products as of 2021.

Now it’s up to the EU to take its responsibility and we’ll be there to remind it.

Make the Right to Repair a reality across Europe

Not everything repair related happens in Brussels! Quite the contrary. Across Europe, some initiatives are already pushing for repair at national and local level. To amplify this movement and ensure anyone interested in changing the system for longer lasting and more repairable products can effectively do so, we will release this fall toolkits for our members but also community repair groups across Europe. From running a petition to keeping up with the latest data about repair and mobilising their community to demand change, we’re developing concrete tips and tools to support this movement. Does this sound interesting to you and your organisation? Join us!

And because the Right to Repair is not only a technical issue but first and foremost a fight led by amazing people (repairers, activists, organisers), we wanted to highlight these heroes. We’ll participate in the upcoming International Repair Day, whose theme this year is “Repair is Essential”, by launching the #RepairHeroes campaign. We can’t tell you more just yet but stay tuned for more details!

Finally, we’ve not seen any improvement on Google’s approach to blocking advertisements from independent repairers, as opposed to those from manufacturers and their authorised repairers. We’re very much opposed to this kind of damaging behaviour and we’ll focus on this before the end of the year!