Oregon (and Google) chooses the Right To Repair

Oregon just adopted the nation’s strongest Right To Repair law, with support from OSPIRG and Environment Oregon, two of The Public Interest Network’s state organizations.

Jemimus, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons | CC-BY-2.0

There are some especially noteworthy elements to this victory.

Oregon’s law is the first to tackle the anti-consumer practice of preventing the use of spare parts from one device to salvage another. The change will make it easier for consumers to repair more smartphones, tablets, and other devices — which means fewer tossed in the trash.

Also of note, OSPIRG and Environment Oregon joined forces with Google on this effort, just as CALPIRG and Environment California welcomed the support of Apple and HP to win California’s Right To Repair law last fall. Kudos to corporations, environmentalists and consumers for working together for positive change.

And finally, speaking of working together to get stuff done, this was a bipartisan victory. It was about society reducing waste and, by the way, consumers saving money.

Technological progress has made everyday life easier and better for the vast majority of us in countless ways. It has also created new responsibilities. When presented with the facts — e.g., if Oregonians extended the lives of their smartphones by just one year, it’d be the climate equivalent of taking 8,100 gas-powered cars off the road — people embrace that responsibility.

Nothing is more important than reinventing our economy, from deplete to preserve, from expendable to sustainable, from throwaway to reuse or recycle, from too much to enough. Right To Repair is one step in the right direction.

Thank you to Gov. Tina Kotek, State Senator Janeen Sollman (D-Hillsboro), Oregon’s state legislators and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Congratulations to OSPIRG Director Charlie Fisher, Environment Oregon Director Celeste Meiffren-Swango, PIRG Right To Repair Campaign Senior Director Nathan Proctor and their teams, and to our close friends at iFixit.


Douglas H. Phelps

President and Executive Director, The Public Interest Network

Doug is President and Executive Director of The Public Interest Network. As director of MASSPIRG starting in 1979, he conceived and helped organize the Fund for the Public Interest, U.S. PIRG, National Environmental Law Center, Green Century Capital Management, Green Corps and Environment America, among other groups. Doug ran the public interest careers program at the Harvard Law School from 1976-1986. He is a graduate of Colorado State University and the Harvard Law School.