What measures could be prioritised by the UK government to make repair the norm?
Back in March, the UK government brought in the legal right to repair:
This week, Radio 4’s three-part series looks at how the Right to Repair movement which is forcing governments to act and making sustainability and value for money part of the consumer equation:
And next week, the final programme looks to the future, where the presenter asks what we can learn from repair cultures around the world , he looks at manufacturers who are designing in repair-ability, and discovers the resources available to encourage and train the next generation of repairers:
However, there is a strong sense in the ‘fixer’ community that a lot more has to be done before we get to a sustainable system.
The Restart Project helps people learn how to repair their broken electronics, and rethink how they consume them in the first place:
It has just launched a petition:
Petition: Give everyone a real right to repair
A lot happened on Right to Repair in the UK in the last few months. First the government largely ignored calls by Parliament to address electronic waste through the Right to Repair. Then it announced legislation coming this summer, which does nothing more than adopt repairability regulations that already entered into force in the EU and in Northern Ireland on March 1st. In addition, we see no sign that more ambitious regulations will be a priority in the near future.
That’s why Restart decided to launch a petition to ask the UK government for a real Right to Repair. We’re asking all signatories of the Manchester Declaration to promote the petition to their communities. The Declaration has been signed by 62 community repair groups across the UK, and endorsed by 14 MPs and 20 allied groups. Together we can reach out to a wide network of people and groups.
We’re asking for three simple things:
1. Include everyone: Right to Repair measures must include access to spare parts and repair information for DIY-ers and community repair groups.
2. Cover more products: the UK should at least keep up with Europe by committing to covering more products, such as smartphones and laptops.
3. Lower the cost of repair: reduce VAT on repairs as recommended by last year’s parliamentary inquiry.
Please sign the petition and help us reach a wide audience by sharing it on local email lists in your communities.
And if you’d like to read more about why we’re pushing for this now, you can read our analysis on what measures should be prioritised by the UK government to make repair the norm.
The Sidmouth Repair Café is urging people to sign – with a rather good example of why:
A good example is the heat activated buckle switches in kettles that flick them off when they’ve boiled. These switches eventually fail when corrosion or calcification renders them useless and more often than not the kettle is junked. The easily removable switches are a British patent and supplied by a British company to the industry. But like the kettles, they are actually made in China. The switches are not available to the public in the UK (for safety reasons), but they are available to the public in the USA as a replaceable part. As anyone who has been to the USA knows, kettles are not big sellers in that country. Madness!