Oregon’s legislative session is underway and there are over a dozen waste-related bills that have been introduced. Here are two bills that we support.
Right to Repair (HB 2698):
If you can’t repair your own things, do you really own them? In a time of planned obsolescence where stuff is made to be broken, this bill will empower repair rather than disposal by requiring manufacturers to provide us with the tools and manuals we need to fix our broken things. We support repair because it:
- reduces environmental damage by decreasing toxic eWaste;
- increases access to affordable technology; and
- supports small businesses and the local economy.
A little more:
The right to repair is a national movement with good momentum. In the year 2021, there are 17 states including Oregon with a Right to Repair bill.
- Here is a thorough fact sheet about the right to repair.
- Here is a list of claims from the opposition and fact-based rebuttals from repair.org.
Here are some articles where you can read about the issue further:
- From this local editorial from the Bend Bulletin
- To this statewide article, “Oregon legislators will consider ‘right to repair’ law” from Oregon Live
- To this national article, “The Right to Repair Movement Is Poised to Explode in 2021” from Vice Magazine
How can I support it?
Write a letter to your legislator and tell them you support the passing of HB 2698.
OSPIRG (Oregon State Public Interest Research Group) has made it easy. All you have to do is sign your name, but you can edit and write what you wish. It’s good to include your personal story related to repair. Have you struggled with repairing your things? Have you prolonged the life of your things because of repair?
The public hearing for this bill, which you can watch here beginning at 1 hour 15, occurred on 3/1/21. Several testified in support including a cyber security company, Free Geek (a non-profit that does electronic repairs), and OSPIRG. You can read our testimony and others’ including those in support and in opposition here and here.
It is unclear at this time when or if there will be another hearing on this bill, but stay tuned for updates.
Modernizing Oregon’s Recycling System (SB 582 – 1):
Oregon has an outdated recycling system that leads to public confusion about what can and cannot be recycled, and consequently, high rates of contamination. The system also places too large a burden on local communities for the end-of-life costs of materials. This bill would finally apply “extended producer responsibility” principles to Oregon’s waste system and require producers to finance much of the cost of system improvements. This bill would also:
- require truthful, easy-to-understand recycling labels;
- develop a state-wide recyclables collection list and educational programs to increase public understanding; and
- improve recycling opportunities in rural areas by equalizing the cost of transporting recyclable materials to markets.
A little more:
- DEQ’s one-pager explanation of their bill
- DEQ’s webpage for this bill where you can sign up for email updates on the right side of the page
- Bills would make companies pay for a new recycling system in Oregon, Oregon Public Broadcasting
- Oregon Seeks to Modernize its Recycling Program, National Law Review
- Recycling in America Is a Mess. A New Bill Could Clean It Up, New York Times
How can I support it?
Write a letter to your legislator and tell them you support the passing of SB 582 – 1.
Find your legislator here by entering your address. Here are some talking points:
- Talk about your experience with the confusion on labels.
- Tell elected officials the difficulty you have with figuring out what is and isn’t recyclable in Oregon.
- Write about how producers should share the responsibility for the recyclability of the packaging into which they put their products.
This bill, which was presented alongside SB 14 and SB 581, was granted three full days of hearing. This is not normal and sheds some light on its importance. You can watch those hearings here, which occurred on 2/23/21, 2/25/21, and 3/2/21. You can read all submitted testimony here including the letter in support from The Environmental Center here.
There will likely be some kind of working group scheduled before the bill advances. Stay tuned for that date and time.