Tuesday, 15 January 2019

The Right To Repair

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Or do without
During WW2, everyone was encouraged to  fix, darn, stick, or whatever was needed to repair their items. That way they lasted longer, and precious resources did not need to be used making new items needlessly.

This is a good principle IMHO, and one I have long adhered to. Socks darned, zips replaced, screws tightened, buttons sewn back on...and we have haberdashery, adhesives and tools galore in this house to fix things when and where we can.
Bob has been struggling with computer printer issues recently. He's a clever chap and started his working life as an electronics whizzkid - so can often get the IT doing what he wants. But he was very frustrated to find not only was the printer unfixable - the spare inkjet cartridges are no use to him anymxore."That model is 4 years old - the new printers take a different spec" said the helpful chap at the company.
We are so accustomed to throwing away things the moment they go wrong, often because the manufacturers don't make repairing these easy or cost effective. But the EU hopes to change that with its planned "Right to Repair" Legislation [OK we will ignore the B word for a minute] Read the details here. A number of states in the USA are looking at similar legislation.
It is wrong that manufacturers make it hard for us to buy spares, or seal the mechanism in inaccessible plastic cases. But it is not just enough for the products to be fixable, we need to change our own mindsets about regarding repair rather replacement as the default position - and we must teach the younger generations to do the same. 
It was reported in the press last week that the Queen has been using the same handbags for 50 years. Now I'm sure she has lots of bags and plenty of wardrobe space so one bag will last ages. But the principle is a good one. Use it for as long as you can, if there's nothing wrong with it, and if there is a fault then try to fix it. 


  1. Nothing is made to last any more, we're forced into the throw-away age.

  2. Apart from conservation and avoiding waste there is, I find anyway, an enormous sense of achievement if you can mend something. It’s good for your mental health.

  3. I'm trying to stop the husband stockpiling printer cartridges for this very reason. I can order one online faster than I can get to the printer shop, so for his new printer he's given in and only bought one set of spares..

  4. I've just fished a pair of cashmere socks out of my boss's bin!They were put there because of one tiny little hole in the heel! I'm going to darn them! Glad I'm in good company with the Queen - I'm a handbag hoarder!

  5. One of our printers uses a cartridge that the company wants to discontinue. There is nothing wrong with the printer even though is is twenty years old - no need to get rid of it. The cartridges use to cost $23 CDN, now they want $76.89 CDN. What a waste.

  6. Built-in-obsolescence. The argument is, they have to get people to keep buying new things in order to keep manufacturing jobs going.

  7. I will be really happy if they change this! The throwaway and buy new ethic really annoys me.


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