Have you ever experienced the feeling of dropping your phone? That sense of dread before you turn it over, hoping the glass hasn't cracked. If the glass is broken, then comes the ultimate question: do you try to get it replaced or just buy a new phone? Most of the time, replacing the screen can cost as much as a new phone. Phone companies make it purposefully difficult to repair their devices, and this is where the Right to Repair movement started.
If you haven’t heard about it, the Right to Repair movement has been around for a while but recently has started to pick up speed. The main focus is making repairing devices like phones or computers more accessible and not limited to just the company that makes the device itself. One of the biggest focuses is giving third-party repair companies the proper tools and manuals to repair devices no matter what company originally manufactured the device. Companies like Apple are notorious for making it incredibly difficult to fix their products, even going so far as to limit how many and what replacement parts are available to repair shops.
The movement had some successes in the past in states like Massachusetts but has not gained much traction around the rest of the country. Early in July, President Biden put an executive order in place to help this movement along in the U.S. Right now, it is not clear on the specifics of what this order will cover, but it is a huge step forward.
Now, if you are lucky enough to have never had to take your device in for repair or just replace it entirely, you may be asking yourself, why does this matter? First, allowing consumers to repair their devices will make a substantial environmental impact, significantly reducing the amount of e-waste that each person throws away each year. Second, the right to repair will also make the repair market more competitive and diverse, leading to lower prices replacing that cracked screen or dead laptop.