Repairably Manifesto gets new updates! Every day, we learn more about the products, producers, production and transportation methods, consumers and their needs, or data about the waste and resources. Repair related knowledge is continuously growing with the interest the topic is recently getting. All this information has naturally impact also to our Manifesto, and how we determine the repairability.
Based on this newly acquired knowledge, and collaboration with producers, we have implemented the following changes- exceptions, clarifications and FAQs in our Manifesto.
In 2018 we have started the certification project with JRK Waste Management. The objective was to certify their Premium line of composters, so we met and discussed about the Repairably rules. During the discussion, an idea came up. Our first rule says, that no component can cost more than 20% of the Product price. This is to make sure that the repair makes economic sense for the user, and also that no large piece needs to be replaced and thrown away at the failure of the product.
The JRK company argued that some of the product components simply are more expensive than the others, which could be due to their size which cannot be divided into more components, or due to the material which can be more valuable. They also appointed to the fact, that the material from a broken piece can be reused in the production of new components. Therefore it does not necessarily create waste- which is what Repairably aims to avoid. Considering this to be a good deal for the environment, Repairably agreed, that if the Producer assures that the broken piece is delivered for remanufacturing, the piece does not have to comply with the 20% rule. This applies to the components with intrinsically and objectivelly higher price.
Furthermore, in order to tackle also the economic sense of repair- if the product user delivers the broken piece back to the Producer, the Producer is supposed to sell him the new piece for a discounted price. Considering that the Producer is getting back the valueable material as a resource, it should make sense to him. Within this win-win situation, the 20% rule philosophy stays valid.
Although no exception was needed for the JRK Waste Management products, it is not a coincidence that this idea came up in conversation with them. The JRK Premium compost bins are made of recycled High Density Polietylen – HDPE, so collecting the components and remanufacturing the products makes sense.
This clarification is made for the comfort of the product users. Imagine your product has broken, and you need to get one or two new components. Repairably wants to provide the easiness to find all the components at one place, so you do not have to look for each of them on a different webpage or shop. You also should not need to pay for more than 1 transportation (with the related environmental footprint), and be able to deal with just one ordering process and one delivery. Would you do your repair otherwise? We want to assure the consumer has the right and comfortable conditions to actually do the repair. The repair process should not to provoke fatique nor stress. With this strategy, repair is as easy and comfortable as possible.
Following the previous principle, the delivery time is another issue that affects the decision of the product user: to repair, or not to repair. If your washing machine breaks, and you need to wait a month for the spare part to come, you will rather buy a new one than wait so long, just from the practicle reasons.
On the other hand, we can imagine that the readiness of the component to be sent anytime may be a burden for the Producer, therefore the requirement is not that strict- it can happen that the Producer fails to comply with this rule time to time. The final aim is to avoid this happening regularly.
In conversation with a Dutch producer, we have realized that our initial idea- that the repair should be possible for anyone interested and in domestic conditions without any special skill or equipment, has not been reflected sufficiently in our Manifesto. Therefore we have decided to add this item and say it explicitly- yes, the disassembly and reassembly has to be possible at your home, with accessible tools, and maybe some small practice in doing things manually, or with the help of your „Mac Gyver“ friend, or your grandfather, or grandmother.
The same Dutch producer mentioned above has applied for a certification with a very clever gadget we would have loved to certify. However, the most of the product volume was its PCB. We discussed the PCB reparation possibilities with our repair specialists, and all of them considered that this kind of repair, where you need a soldering machine, a magnifying glass and a diagnostic tool, cannot be considered as an repair for domestic conditions and for an unskilled user.
The argument in favor of this claim was also the Fairphone, a modular phone, where the PCB is composed of several modules, that can be easily disassembled and exchanged. This kind of solution is user-friendly and simple enough, and cannot be compared with the soldering and other techniques needed to repair the conventional PCBs. Considering these facts, we have added this specific explanation into the Repairably Manifesto.
However, we believe the repairability of the PCB is an important topic, and we plan to investigate it further.
Check all the Manifesto and repairability rules here