People don’t want to own anything anymore. They much prefer licenses that let them use it. At least that’s what lawyers from The Software Alliance and the Motion Picture Association of America told the Copyright Office. Through an unlikely sequence of events, I found myself sitting across the table from them late last month at a series of “roundtables” on copyright law. Unlikely, because I’m a repairman. Copyright law should have nothing to do with me. But it does.
iFixit’s pretty fond of this big blue marble that we call home. We’re also pretty fond of electronics. So, in honor of Earth Day, here’s four really easy things you can do to save the earth—and save your electronics from the landfill too. What’s the big deal about electronics, you might ask? By weight, electronics require far more resources than any other product. So it makes sense to keep electronics around for as long as possible.
We recently went to the Palo Alto Repair Café and spent some time with its founder Peter Skinner. Back in 2012, Peter read an article in the New York Times about Repair Cafés in the the Netherlands. There was nothing similar in United States at the time, and Peter was interested in starting a grassroots organization that addressed the global problem of waste. A local Repair Café was just the fix to facilitate the idea of repair over replacement.
Recently, our co-founder Kyle Wiens sat down with Scrap Magazine for a Q&A about our mission to teach everyone to repair everything. The interview appeared in Scrap’s November/December issue, but Scrap is graciously allowing us to repost part of article here. We’ve chosen just a few of our favorite questions from the full interview—but you can see the entire Q and A in this issue of Scrap Magazine. Check out an excerpt from the interview on our blog.
Just yesterday, The Verge did a great profile on The Fixers’ Collective in New York City. Founded in 2008, the Fixers’ Collective is staffed by volunteers who help members of the local community resurrect all kinds of things. They fix busted phones, sew ripped sweaters, and rewire lamps. With every thing they fix, the group also helps to rewire the relationship patrons have with broken stuff—giving them a more powerful alternative than just the landfill.
We’re not the only ones who get riled up about repair. Recyclers are also banding together for their right to reuse and repair equipment. Late last month, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) adopted a policy in support of their members’ efforts to reuse, repair, and reintroduce products back to the marketplace.
Following a successful campaign to legalize cellphone unlocking, winning key exemptions from the Copyright Office for repair, and strong support for repair-friendly state legislation, we are excited to launch The Repair Association (repair.org)—a new organization representing professional and consumer repairers. Expanding on and absorbing the work started by the Digital Right to Repair Coalition, repair.org will be a hub for repair professionals and a voice for the entire repair industry.
Recently, one of our personal repair heroes stopped by iFixit’s California office. And we couldn’t resist the urge to talk shop. Janet Gunter is the co-founder of The Restart Project—an amazing UK-based repair organization. Gunter and her fellow Restarters aim to redefine the relationship people have with their stuff—especially their broken stuff. Our co-founder Kyle Wiens sat down with Janet to chat about the group’s mission.
In New York City, a student at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School stuck his head through the doorframe and gave Jeannie Crowley an inquisitive look. “I heard you guys are fixing phones,” the student said. “No,” Crowley replied. “You’re fixing the phone—but we provide parts and support.” The student’s face lit up. “Really? I’ve always wanted to be able to do that,” he said. “But I’ve been too nervous to do it on my own.” Now students at the campus can learn to fix their phones on their own.
We stopped by the European Parliament in Brussels to show some folks there how to fix their phones. The repair-focused showcase was part of massive effort to put Europe on the path to a circular economy—an economic system where materials are designed to recirculate back into the marketplace at the end of their lives. In fact, the European Parliament is considering taking some legislative measures that would reduce waste—including e-waste.
Every tinkerer is an accidental environmentalist. Every fixer is waging an unwitting war against waste. Even if you repair just because you’d like to save money, even if you fix just because you enjoy it—when you fix something, you’re engaged in a small act that has much larger ecological significance. So says the President and CEO of outdoor clothing company Patagonia.