Greenpeace in partnership with US-based company iFixit, has just assessed over 40 of the most popular smartphones, tablets and laptops from the past two years, to see how easily companies are allowing consumers the access to repair or make spare parts and repair manuals available.
Very few electronic manufacturers provide users with information about how to fix their products. Out of the 17 brands represented in the assessment, only three - Dell, Fairphone and HP - provide all spare parts and repair manuals. A few best-in-class products they found, such as Fairphone, show that designing with repairability in mind is possible. In fact, most of the new generation phones are being built with expansive glass front, making them more prone to breaking. For example, Samsung’s latest S8, designed with edge to edge glass on the front and back, has been called “the most fragile’ phone ever made”.
Making devices that last longer and can be repaired is the most significant step that electronic brands can take to reduce the various environmental impacts associated with electronics manufacturing - from the extraction of virgin raw materials, the use of hazardous chemicals and large amounts of energy in manufacturing through to generation of millions of tonnes of e-waste every year.
Fairphone was established following a research project and campaign at Waag. In 2013, Fairphone launched a movement for fairer electronics.