Proposed Bill Seeks to Help Californians Save Over $5B Annually by Prioritizing Device Repair Over Replacement


A few of the Repair Café Pasadena volunteers helping fix products.

On April 1, local officials, business owners, and consumer groups gathered in Pasadena, CA to celebrate the Right to Repair at the Pasadena Repair Café. The public was invited to bring in their broken electronics, appliances, lamps, jewelry, toys, bikes, and more to be repaired free of charge, while advocates called for state reforms to make repair easier.

Ginko Lee, a lead organizer of the Pasadena Repair Café, discusses the benefits of Right to Repair and SB 244 (The Right to Repair Act)

CALPIRG, a consumer advocacy group, released a new report titled "Repair Saves Families Big II" during the event. The report shows that consumers can save hundreds of dollars by repairing their electronics instead of replacing them. CALPIRG estimates that the average American household could save approximately $382 per year by repairing its electronics. This means that across 13.4 million households in California, the repair could save residents a total of $5.13 billion annually.

Some of the speakers spoke in favor of the Right to Repair and SB 244 (the Right to Repair Act) at the Repair Café. Speakers from left to right are: Robin Cox, Owner of Remainders Creative Reuse; Ginko Lee, a lead organizer of the Pasadena Repair Café; Phoenix Luther, Pasadena High School Student and repair enthusiast; Felicia Williams, Pasadena Vice Mayor; Dan Brotman, Glendale City Councilmember (and incoming Mayor); Sander Kushen, CALPIRG Consumer Advocate; Dr. Elizabeth Chamberlain, Director of Sustainability at iFixit

The report updates research from two years ago, which found that American households spend approximately $1,480 annually on new electronic products. The latest data (2021) shows that spending rose 19% in those two years and that the average household spends $1,767 purchasing new electronic products per year.

Manufacturers often make it difficult for the public to repair their items and limit access to the tools, parts, and information needed for repair. CALPIRG and other advocates called on the State Legislature to pass SB 244 (Eggman), The Right to Repair Act. This legislation would allow individuals and independent repair shops to access necessary tools, parts, and manuals needed for electronic repairs.

The rise of the repair café movement shows that many people would be happy to fix their own things if they had the necessary parts, tools, and documentation. Manufacturers' repair monopolies hurt consumers who want to fix things themselves and threaten to shut down California's independent repair shops. For less waste, more shared repair knowledge, and more functional items, Californians need SB 244.

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