On March 1, 2021, Environment Oregon testified before the Oregon House Committee on Business and Labor in support of House Bill 2698, a proposed bill to give Oregonians the right to repair. You can watch the full hearing here. Below is our written testimony:
Representative Paul Holvey, Chair
House Committee on Business and Labor
Re: Environment Oregon supports House Bill 2698
Chair Holvey and Members of the Committee,
Environment Oregon is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water and open space. We support House Bill 2698 because the right to repair is critical to protecting precious natural resources, mitigating climate change pollution and preventing waste.
We generate way too much waste, and companies use their power in the marketplace to make things harder to repair. Preventing repair reinforces the linear economic cycle of buying, using and discarding at the fastest possible speed, eating up precious natural resources on the front end and creating a mountain of preventable waste at the back end, all the while exacerbating climate change. The environmental impact of having electronic products with a short life is significant.
For example, Americans purchase 161 million new smartphones each year, and our cell phone habit takes 23.7 million tons of raw material to satisfy. That’s like consuming an Empire State Building equivalent in material every six days. On average, Americans use their phones for 24.7 months before discarding them. Every day in the United States 416,000 cell phones are discarded.
Studies show that if we held onto our phones for one more year on average, the climate emissions reductions would be equivalent to taking 636,000 cars off the road. But in order to extend the life of these products, individuals and small businesses need access to the tools and resources to fix them, which they often don't have.
By giving Oregonians the "right to repair," House Bill 2698 would help extend the life of electronics and as a result will help to conserve precious resources, mitigate climate pollution and prevent waste, and we urge its swift passage.