Each week, we bring you the top repair news from around the world, curated by the folks over at FightToRepair.news. Here are the happenings for the week of October 2nd.
With the critical midterm elections looming in the U.S. there’s plenty of talk about “repair” out on the campaign trail…just not the kind that right to repair advocates might be hoping for.
Sharice Davids, a Democratic Party candidate for Kansas third congressional district, for example, talks about the need to “repair our aging infrastructure” and “make more here in America.” Senator Maggie Hassan, a Democrat seeking re-election in New Hampshire, totes federal dollars to “repair infrastructure” in her state. Esther Joy-King, a Republican candidate for Illinois’ 17th Congressional District argues that Congress needs to work to “repair this broken system,” but she’s talking about immigration, not ubiquitous restrictions on repairing home appliances, agricultural machinery, and other critical implements.
To be sure, there are some candidates who are giving right to repair airtime—and those voices often scramble conventional thinking about the boundary lines separating “progressive” from “conservative.” In Pennsylvania’s hotly contested Senate race between Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and celebrity physician Dr. Mehmet Oz, Fetterman promises that he will “fight for farmers’ rights to repair their own equipment and take on Big Ag so Pennsylvania’s small farmers can have a fair shot,” one of the most overt references to right to repair anywhere this election cycle. Dr. Oz’s site is silent on the issue of a right to repair.
Down ballot, GOP Rep. Greg Pence (former Vice President Mike Pence’s older brother), who represents Indiana’s 6th Congressional District, recently weighed in on concerns he has about consumers’ rights to data privacy and the right to repair agricultural equipment.
“Did you know, when you buy a new car, you actually give up your rights to all the information in that car? You go ‘Oh no, it doesn’t say that.’ Yeah, it’s been saying that for a couple years,” Pence told The Daily Journal. “They own your data, and that leads to … right to repair. There’s a right to repair bill that I actually sponsored, but this is all under that same Big Tech blanket: the right to privacy, your data, who owns it.”
Alas, Pence’s race isn’t considered competitive, meaning that his stance on right to repair is unlikely to get much attention.
Indeed, while voters scrutinize their candidates’ positions ahead of November’s election, positions on repair restrictions do not figure in midterm 2022 calculations. In fact, a review of campaign websites in 10 of the most competitive House races in the country found not a single mention of repair restrictions or pending federal right to repair laws affecting automobiles, agricultural equipment, and electronics. Pennsylvania’s Democratic candidate, John Fetterman, was the only candidate—Democrat or Republican—in the ten most competitive Senate races to mention the right to repair on his campaign website. In other words, despite ample attention to the growing power and influence of “Big Tech” players like Google and Facebook, repair, as an issue, is off the radar in the 2022 midterms.
That could be problematic come 2023. Already, there are a number of right to repair bills languishing in Congress, including a Senate bill focused on agricultural equipment and the REPAIR Act, legislation introduced in the House that seeks to federalize a right to repair automobiles, which is currently guaranteed only by virtue of an auto industry memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed after Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly passed a state automobile right to repair in 2012.
With politicians free to ignore right to repair as an issue on the campaign trail, supporters may find it more difficult to twist arms in support of proposed right to repair legislation when Congress resumes work in January.
Fixing My Sony WH-1000XM3 Convinced Me of the Right to Repair (Androidauthority.com)
Even if you can get hold of spare parts, replacing them is a whole other matter. While opening up the Sony WH-1000MX3 isn’t too difficult (it’s just a few clips and screws), you’ll still need a guide to show you where everything is, and once again, I had to turn to a third party. Even then, the headphones are constructed in such a way that it would be very easy to damage something else during the repair.
Note the short touch control ribbon cable in the earcup and the close proximity between the battery and some very delicate wires. A sharp tug or slip of the screwdriver is all it would take to render the headphones unrepairable. There’s an unholy amount of adhesive used to fix the WH-1000XM3 battery down too, which doesn’t pair well with thin delicate wires and batteries that explode when punctured or bent. I know my way around circuits and repairs pretty well, but this task could easily be too daunting for inexperienced DIYers.
Reading between the lines, Sony never built the WH-1000MH3 with repairability in mind, at least not outside of its official warranty channel. That’s no good to consumers more than a couple of years down the line who find themselves in need of a cheap, simple, and quick repair to keep their product working.
Hearing the familiar “power on” phrase and successfully pairing my headphones with my smartphone felt like a major win, but I’ve realized it shouldn’t have felt like the big deal it turned out to be.
Repair and disassembly information for Sony WH-1000XM3 wireless noise-cancelling over-ear headphones.View Device
Federal lawmakers met with Montanans to discuss what is affecting farms and ranches throughout the state. Fourteen members of Montana Farmers Union, two of them Great Falls High School students, participated in National Farmers Union 2022 Fall Legislative fly-in held in September.
“This is a broken food supply system. And we went to the to our leaders of this country to talk about ways we can improve this,” said Walter Schweitzer, President of Montana Farmers Union.
Montana Farmers Union members along with 250 producers from around the country met to discuss the upcoming Farm Bill. Within the bill falls important legislation that directly affects Montana: The Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act, The Cattle Price Discover and Transparency Act, American Beef Labeling Act, and rulemaking by the USDA to strengthen the Packers and Stockyards Act and the Right to Repair Legislation. Schweitzer is an advocate for fairness and competition in agriculture.
Insurers Show Support for Right to Repair (aftermarketnews.com)
The American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) has issued a statement supporting two recently released white papers focused on the impact of right to repair legislation in the auto industry.
The white paper “Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act, H.R. 6570,” authored by Aaron Perzanowski, professor of law at the University of Michigan, emphasizes that restrictions to consumers choice of repair shops could increase the cost of vehicle repairs.
According to Perzanowski, “By denying consumers and their preferred independent repair providers access to this crucial information, carmakers and dealers can reduce competition and increase the cost of vehicle repairs.” He also notes, “The REPAIR Act offers a sensible, forward-looking, nationwide solution that protects the rights of vehicle owners and promotes a robustly competitive repair industry.”
The Google Pixel 7 Pro has hit the shelves and the device has already been put through a stringent teardown by YouTube channel PBKreviews. Google’s flagship Android smartphone appears to have a similar internal construction as its predecessor. And, while screen and battery replacements appear to be easy enough, intentional design and hardware layout choices mean the phone may not be DIY repair-friendly.
The Google Pixel is Google's first flagship phone, released on October 20, 2016. The 5-inch AMOLED display device comes with 32 and 128 GB storage options and is available in three colors; Very Silver, Quite Black, and Really Blue.View Device
Why Do We Trash Things That Can Be Fixed? (Marketwatch.com)
Why is it that so many of us no longer get creative about fixing things? Is it the allure of a one-click solution or the conviction that undertaking a household repair ourselves is too intimidating and frankly, too much trouble? Yet we all know it is not environmentally reasonable to be endlessly replacing items that could easily be given a second life.
Study in UK Estimates Nation’s Closets Hold 1.6 Billion Unworn Items (Circular.co.uk)
The largest study into clothing habits ever undertaken by climate action NGO WRAP shows changes over the last 8 years around how long we retain our clothes, and how our openness to new ways of clothes ‘shopping’ could significantly reduce the environmental cost of clothing the nation—and save shoppers millions of pounds.
In Australia, Millions in Grants to Support ‘Circular Economy’ Initiatives (Wastemanagementreview.com.au)
In Australia, Victorian community groups have been given a boost to creatively tackle waste and create new jobs. Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for the Environment and Climate Action, has announced funding of more than $3 million to be shared by 39 organisations through the Circular Economy Communities Fund.
The Circular Economy Communities Fund will keep about 3000 tonnes of waste out of landfill, with 60,000 volunteers taking part and creating 100 paid jobs. Funded projects include bicycle recycling, repair and reuse, a soap re-purposing project, recycling and re-purposing of recreational fishing gear, and several innovative food rescue and community garden programs.