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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: May 19, 2021 12:14 PM
From: Representative Kristine C. Howard
To: All House members
Subject: Repairability Index for Electronic Devices
Yesterday’s fancy new gadget is tomorrow’s garbage. Television stopped working? Buy a new one. Microwave shorted out? Buy a new one. Phone screen cracked? Buy a new one.
While discussions of our throwaway culture frequently revolve around our collective impatience, the larger issue is waste. When our broken – or merely older – electronics become garbage, they flood our landfills and roadsides with hazardous and non-renewable components, components which must be mined and manufactured anew with great environmental impact for each new device.
To make matters worse, many products today discourage any other behavior. Devices are deliberately made difficult to repair, with access to information on how to make repairs kept scarce, ensuring even those with the interest and skills are prevented from doing so. This is manufactured helplessness, plain and simple.  
This is why I plan to introduce legislation that will create a repairability index, requiring original equipment manufacturers to rate and display the repairability and longevity of each item they sell. Displaying the difficulty of repairing products will make it easier for consumers to make informed purchasing decisions, and is a necessary first step in changing the culture of planned obsolescence, a culture that is now creating a worldwide shortage of the computer chips necessary to make electronics, from synthesizers to cars to medical devices.
By ensuring consumers have pertinent repairability information, this legislation will help curb electronic waste and force manufactures to rethink their business models.   
Repairability is not only a consumer rights issue; it’s an environmental issue.

Introduced as HB1757