The Right to Repair is a consumer’s ability to repair faulty goods, or access repair services, at a competitive price. This can include repair by a manufacturer, a third-party, or self-repair.
The Productivity Commission is conducting an inquiry to look at the the challenge in repairing goods due to product design or limited parts with broken products ending up in landfill.
The Productivity Commission has released the issues paper and anyone can contribute feedback by Monday 1 February 2021.
Complex products can mean no simple repair solutions
Over the past two decades, there has been rapid growth in the number of products that incorporate sophisticated technology — it is now commonplace for cars, mobile phones, refrigerators, and even coffee machines to have software and computers in them.
There are many benefits for all of us with these advances, but they have also increased the complexity of repairs.
An excess of E-waste
E-waste (or electronic waste) is growing three times faster than general municipal waste in Australia thanks to our love of technology coupled with reduced product lifespan and consumer demand for new products. E-waste refers to electronic products that are no longer wanted or working such as televisions, phones, computers, printers and other electrical household items.
These products use precious metals that have a high value due to both their rarity and extraction, and may also contain toxic materials. It is important to reuse these products for as long as possible, recycle their components when they are no longer working and to keep them out of landfill.
Repairing goods in Moreland
As part of the Zero Carbon Merri-bek 2040 Framework, Merri-bek is committed to achieving zero waste to landfill. One important way of contributing to this goal is by repairing products rather than immediately replacing them.
In Merri-bek, the Brunswick Tool Library offers an extensive selection of tools and equipment for large and small repair jobs for loan for their members. The group has also hosted volunteer-run repair workshops (‘Repair Cafes’) in the past – check out their Facebook page to stay up to date with future events.
For goods that are beyond repair, Merri-bek City Council accepts E-waste in the biannual hard waste collection service. The Victorian State Government banned E-waste in landfill in 2019 so these items can no longer be placed in the regular garbage bin.