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Right to Repair
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Post# 1020627   1/9/2019 at 04:13 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Climate change: 'Right to repair' gathers force

 

It is frustrating: you buy a new appliance then just after the warranty runs out, it gives up the ghost.

You can’t repair it and can’t find anyone else to at a decent price, so it joins the global mountain of junk.

You’re forced to buy a replacement, which fuels climate change from the greenhouse gases released in the manufacturing process.

But help is at hand, because citizens in the EU and parts of the USA will soon get a manchesterdeclaration.org/...">"right to repair" - of sorts.

This consists of a series of proposals from European environment ministers to force manufacturers to make goods that last longer and are easier to mend.

The European proposals refer to lighting, televisions and large home appliances.

www.theverge.com/2018/3/8...">At least 18 US states are considering similar laws in a growing backlash against products which can’t be prised apart because they’re glued together, or which don’t have a supply of spare parts, or repair instructions.

How will the Right to Repair happen?

European environment ministers have a series of proposals forcing manufacturers to make goods that last longer and are easier to mend. The European proposals refer to lighting, televisions and large home appliances.

Plans for the EU Ecodesign Directive are complex and controversial. Manufacturers say the proposed rules on repairability are too strict and will stifle innovation.

Consumer campaigners complain the EU Commission has allowed firms to keep control of the repair process by insisting some products are mended by professionals under the control of manufacturers.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) said: “This restricts the access of independent repairers to spare parts and information - and that limits the scope and affordability of repair services.” The EEB also wants other products like smart phones and printers included in the legislation.

How will it help the environment?

Green groups say legislation under way in Europe and the US represents progress towards saving carbon emissions and using resources more wisely.

Libby Peake from the think tank Green Alliance told BBC News: “The new rules are a definite improvement. We think they could have been better, but it’s good news that at last politicians are waking up to an issue that the public have recognised as a problem for a long time. The new rules will benefit the environment and save resources.”

What has driven the changes?

The policies have been driven by some arresting statistics.

  • One study showed that between 2004 and 2012, the proportion of major household appliances that died within five years rose from 3.5% to 8.3%.
  • An analysis of junked washing machines at a recycling centre showed that more than 10% were less than five years old.
  • Another study estimates that because of the CO2 emitted in the manufacturing process, a long-lasting washing machine will generate over two decades 1.1 tonnes less CO2 than a short-lived model.
  • Many lamps sold in Europe come with individual light bulbs that can’t be replaced. So when one bulb packs in, the whole lamp has to be jettisoned.

Isn’t it better to scrap an old appliance and buy a more efficient one?

This is no simple question. Resource analysts say, as a rule of thumb, if your current appliance is old and has a very low energy efficiency rating, it can sometimes be better in terms of lifetime CO2 emissions to replace it with a new model rated A or AA. In most other cases it produces fewer emissions sticking with the old model.

There’s another debate about how readily consumers should be allowed to mend appliances. The Right to Repair movement wants products that can be fully disassembled and repaired with spare parts and advice supplied by the manufacturer.

Some manufacturers fear that bungling DIY repairers will damage the machines they’re trying to fix, and potentially render them dangerous.

One industry group, Digital Europe, said: “We understand the political ambition to integrate strict energy and resource efficiency aspects in Ecodesign, but we are concerned that some requirements are either unrealistic or provide no added value.

“The draft regulations limit market access, deviate from internationally-recognised best practices and compromise intellectual property.”

www.bbc.com/news/business...">What should I do with my broken kettle?

Will UK have to stick to the new standards after Brexit?

The British government has welcomed the new rules and will almost certainly need to replicate them if UK firms are to export to Europe.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey told BBC News: “I’m delighted that the BBC is taking an interest in resource efficiency as this is key to improving our productivity and making best use of precious resources. That is why we are supporting measures in the new Ecodesign Directive product regulations to encourage repair and re-use of a range of products.”

This is a very different tone from the one adopted by critics of the EU’s previous initiatives on energy efficiency.

There were warnings that www.bbc.co.uk/news/busine...">forcing vacuum cleaners to use less power would leave Britain’s floors dirty.

It transpired that the rules had forced manufacturers to make www.which.co.uk/news/2016...">new cleaners that cleaned equally well – but using less power, thanks to better floorhead design.



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Post# 1020646 , Reply# 1   1/9/2019 at 08:21 by paulg (My sweet home... Chicago)        
Agree to "Right to Repair"

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I've always agreed to "right to repair", but let me kick around a few things.
For a long time I was resident engineer for a large TV manufacturer and taught repair classes for them. I've seen TVs evolve, as have you all.
Flat-screen TVs contain just a few boards now, sometimes just one large one. Just as a computer has slide-in circuit boards, so it would be almost as easy to add this feature to TVs, especially the low-featured ones. Although servicers will have a cow over this idea, it would prevent zillions of LCD screens ending up in the scrap heap just because one PWB fails. The LCD panel overall has a very, very low failure rate yet many end up in scrap because one capacitor fails or one ball-gate has bad solder and the whole unit is scrapped. In my opinion, replacing PWBs in home computers is so common that the public may now be primed to try the same approach with their appliance or TV.
Yes I know getting manufacturers to change designs is like pulling teeth - but I've done it. They want you to buy a new product when the old unit fails. But some manufacturers actually take pride in their name and want you to be happy with it. I do think that the "Works In A Drawer" should be embraced once again to avoid wholesale junking of largely repairable TVs (and appliances). The repairable appliance may be endearing to some customers.
Suggesting the above actually is odd for me. For years I preached against "board-happy" technicians. However, in the case of flat-screen TVs, module replacement by slide-out method out the side could be viable, particularly when only one PWB is present.
IN MY DREAMS? You bet.
As for DIY people rendering appliances dangerous? This has been going on since the dark ages. As always, if it is under warranty - don't touch the unit. But once the warranty is over I believe the DIY can and should do whatever the hell they want with their appliance even if the results aren't good.
Heck, I was on the receiving end of that. I had to evaluate incidents that were induced by the servicer (sometimes DIY) gone bad. Not to oversimplify but sending a factual forensic report to legal often results in the issue going away. In my case the DIY issues didn't happen too often.
Years ago General Electric published books for the DIY repairperson. I have the one for range, refrigerators and washers. Was there horrible fallout for doing this? Perhaps GE was a bit ahead of their time. Their 1980's motivation probably wasn't ecology-based but rather customer satisfaction.


Post# 1020653 , Reply# 2   1/9/2019 at 09:43 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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I guess it's because of "planned obsolescence". Most manufactures today want their products to fail as soon as their warranty expires. It's all about profits. I'm glad some states will force manufacturers to make their products repairable. I think this should be a federal law protecting all consumers nationwide, but I'm not holding my breath.


Post# 1020655 , Reply# 3   1/9/2019 at 09:51 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Older machines weren't

as easily recyclable as new ones either. They did last longer, but still needed repairs. New ones can be repaired, it's just that often the cost to repair is not worth the long term cost over a new one.
It mazes me still when I see how much trash is on the curbs on pick up days. Some do not recycle anything. You'd think people with kids would especially care more about their future.
I still visit the recycle drop off once per month for just two of us' used glass, cans, plastic, paper, and cardboard.
The city also offers a designated lidded large container and curb side pick up for
about $40 per year. The recycle depot is on the way to the store, so to me $40 is a nice evening out to dinner, movies, etc.


Post# 1021052 , Reply# 4   1/13/2019 at 16:52 by cornutt (Huntsville, AL USA)        

A big issue I don't see mentioned is manufacturers being allowed to abuse copyright law to restrict distribution of parts and tools, and suing people who do repairs without paying tribute to the factory. Some of them have gotten so aggressive as to sue people who dig into diagnostic data and publish diagnostic and repair procedures. This, to me, should be the main focus of right-to-repair law.


Post# 1021127 , Reply# 5   1/14/2019 at 09:41 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Right To Repair

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Hi David, Do you know of any case of a major appliance manufacturer doing this ?

Post# 1021131 , Reply# 6   1/14/2019 at 10:01 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
FSP parts

were always the status quo at least for Whirlpool.
When I ordered a dryer maintainence kit on Amazon last month, there were several brands for identical parts. Wether or not they are different from one another, or of lesser quality, I have no idea.





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