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The Challenge of E-Waste: Why Right to Repair Matters

Author:Zhengyang MachineryTimes:2019-06-05
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Humans are producing 50 million tons of electronic waste each year. Even worse, that number isn’t getting any smaller. It’s growing. A major contributing factor to the e-waste crisis is that it’s just so easy for people to upgrade their electronic devices and not think twice about chucking them out. Now, governments and industry are partnering with everyday citizens to change the toss-away habit the electronics industry has created.
 
Consumers stand to save a lot from better recycling and reuse efforts for electronics, even before counting the environmental benefits. When consumers shift to repairing and reusing electronics instead of replacing them, the difference in cost can be staggering. For example, a refrigerator averages $290 to repair while it can cost up to $8,000 to replace with the latest high end option. When it comes to that washing machine, the average repair cost is around $290 while replacing a washing machine can cost up to $1,000. For your dryer, repairing it averages $180 while replacing it can cost as much as $1,000.
 
Those are big differences that matter for consumer wallets. So now that we know that repairing and replacing electronics is often more cost effective and better for the environment, what’s being done about it? Many governments, with the support of the electronics industry, are passing right-to-repair legislation that makes it easier for people to reuse and recycle their electronic goods. Meanwhile, all three groups — citizens, government, and industry — are realizing that they each have a critical role to play in reducing electronic waste.
 
Here’s the big picture: Without everyday citizens recycling and reusing electronics, the problem of e-waste just continues. Without the electronics industry, there’s no easy way for people to recycle and reuse electronics goods. Without governments, there is no big push for business and citizens to tackle the e-waste challenge. Reducing electronic waste takes everyone working together to solve the issue.

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