SB1596 Right To Repair


Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
February 5th 2024



Reference Bill Number SB1596

Chair Sollman and Members of the Senate Energy and Environment Committee:

I write as cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, an organization of some 2,000 Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and encourage state action to address it.  As rural Oregonians, we live on the frontlines of the warming, reducing snowpack, heatwaves, drought, and the increasing wildfire risk that these trends conspire to produce.  Because of this, we pay close attention to what is happening in Salem in terms of legislative proposals.

I write today to offer our support for SB1596.  During the 1970s, the decade that was launched with the first Earth Day, Americans were becoming aware of the environmental cost of consumerism (Dagger 2023).  The trio of terms, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and their collective logo was promoted to reduce the waste stream. It is noteworthy that, although ‘recycle’ seems to have become the lead term in our consciousness, it was then, and still remains, the last term in the sequence. Essentially, recycling should be what we do when we have reduced and reused to the maximum extent possible.  More recently, to the famous trio have been added two more Rs. Thus, the twenty-first century environmentalist call to sustainability urges us to: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle (e.g., Roadrunner 2023). Note that recycling remains the final effort in the sequence as we encourage both declining to consume so much and repurposing what we cannot reuse.

Closely aligned with the environmental concern about consumerism, is the concern about our ‘throw-away society (Hadjiosif 2021) in which we “we choose ‘convenience’ over what’s better for the planet.” This author lays the blame, at least in part, on the industrial revolution after which it became easy to mass produce items and the invention of plastics. While it is unfortunate that we have adopted the convenience of simply throwing away items such as plates, napkins and plastic bottles it is also unfortunate that we have seen the same disposable behavior include items such as electronics that could be repaired if only owners or technicians had the manuals allowing them to undertake the repair.  As we have seen, and SB1596 addresses, one of the reasons for this inability to repair is a conscious effort on the part of some manufacturers to limit access to the tools necessary to allow the easy repair of items. Maybe we should add another R so that the admonition is to Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Repurpose, Recycle.

One of the driving factors behind the 3, now 5 (or 6), Rs is that adopting the mindset that this behavior encourages reducing our use of both materials and energy. While reducing both leads to a more sustainable lifestyle, reducing energy consumption also has a profound impact on addressing the climate crisis by reducing our use of fossil fuels to generate energy.  In addition, making repairing items easier also has huge social justice benefits since it is low-income Oregonians who are less able to adopt the consumerist ‘throw-away’ approach to materials.

For the above reasons, Southern Oregon Climate Action Now endorses SB1596 and encourages its swift passage.

Respectfully Submitted

Alan Journet

Dagger 2023 What are the 3Rs (for the environment)? Reduce, reuse, recycle. GWP Group.,became%20much%20more%20environmentally%20conscious.

Hadjiosif, S 2021 How We Became A Throw-away Society. Terra Movement.

Roadrunner 2023 THE 5 R’S: REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE, REPURPOSE, RECYCLE. Roadrunner Modern Waste + Recycling.’s%3A%20Refuse%2C%20Reduce%2C%20Reuse%2C%20Repurpose%2C%20Recycle

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